To fight or fold, or let fester?

Our good friend Perry wrote:

(W)e are losing ground in Afghanistan, even with the injection of 40K more troops. Obama is absolutely correct to reconsider the strategy before committing even more troops. Would you have him make a hasty decision that might get us mired down further in the place, and without an exit strategy, like Bush, “stay the course”?

I responded briefly here, but the war in Afghanistan is a topic which deserves a bit more space and consideration than a comment thread which has kind of scattered far and wide.

Thanks to Sharon, I found this article:


White House Eyeing Narrower War Effort

Top Officials Challenge General’s Assessment

Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 2, 2009

Senior White House officials have begun to make the case for a policy shift in Afghanistan that would send few, if any, new combat troops to the country and instead focus on faster military training of Afghan forces, continued assassinations of al-Qaeda leaders and support for the government of neighboring Pakistan in its fight against the Taliban.

In a three-hour meeting Wednesday at the White House, senior advisers challenged some of the key assumptions in Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s blunt assessment of the nearly eight-year-old war, which President Obama has said is being fought to destroy al-Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and the ungoverned border areas of Pakistan.

McChrystal, commander of the 100,000 NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has asked Obama to quickly endorse his call for a change in military strategy and approve the additional resources he needs to retake the initiative from the resurgent Taliban.

You know thw deal: I can’t just quote the whole article. But it continues to say that a senior Administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said:

A lot of assumptions — and I don’t want to say myths, but a lot of assumptions — were exposed to the light of day.

Civilian control of the military is a long and cherished part of our nation, one that should never be changed. But I have to wonder just what Administration experts there were who could challenge the “assumptions” of the man on the scene. Who amongst President Obama’s team of advisers knows and understands Afghanistan better than General McChrystal?

Among them, according to three senior administration officials who attended the meeting, is McChrystal’s contention that the Taliban and al-Qaeda share the same strategic interests and that the return to power of the Taliban would automatically mean a new sanctuary for al-Qaeda.

Gee, I wonder; could it be the fact that al Qaeda has helped the Taliban, and the fact that the Taliban provided safe haven to al Qaeda before September 11, 2001, that has General McChrystal persuaded that a return to power by the Taliban would mean sanctuary for al Qaeda?

The story continues to say that “White House officials” have said that al Qaeda has not regained a foothold in Afghanistan even as the Taliban have gained strength. One wonders how they know this, but, even if it is true, such would be reasonable: the Taliban are fighting one battle, to regain control of Afghanistan, while al Qaeda is fighting another, longer-ranged terrorist attacks on Western interests and influence. That their targets are different does not mean that their philosophy — the political establishment of Islam — is not the same, nor that the Taliban and al Qaeda would not be perfectly willing to continue the marriage of force and faith they had previously.

The Washington Post article stated that it was senior Administration officials who asked the sharpest questions, while the uniformed military leadership did not dissent from General McChrystal’s assessment; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates kept their views to themselves. Vice President Biden was said to have assumed the role of “skeptic in chief.” Mr Biden has long touted his foreign policy experience, but has had neither education nor training in the field; his claim is based solely on long tenure in, and one-time chairmanship of, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has long been a foreign policy commentator, but never had any actual foreign policy responsibilities.

The Post article said that the Vice President is of the opinion that deploying more troops to Afghanistan would be counter-productive, by giving al Qaeda and the Taliban more ammunition to attack the war and occupation in Afghan public opinion. That strikes me as too clever by half: does it really make sense that the Afghan people would resent a slightly larger number of American troops more than they resent having American troops there at all? The Taliban will not be appeased if we reduce our troop strength there by half; they will only be happy when it is eliminated.

I started this article yesterday, and set it aside. Today I saw this article from Donald Douglas:

Eight U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan: Aggressive Attack Shows Insurgents Gaining at AF-PAK Border

It’s the big foreign policy story this morning. Both NYT and WaPo have big stories. The fighting took place in the remote eastern section of Afghanistan, in Nurestan province. The news reports describe a brazen offensive featuring tribal militias making cross-border raids. From the Washington Post‘s report:

The U.S. military said it was not immediately clear how many insurgents were involved in the fighting. The attack involved Taliban fighters and appeared to be led by a local commander of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin insurgent group, which is run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former mujaheddin leader during the Soviet war in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

The attack took place in a sparsely populated area of forested mountains near the town of Kamdeysh. The deputy police chief of Nurestan province, Mohammad Farouq, said the insurgents intended to seize control of the Kamdeysh area and that hundreds took part in the fighting. He said more than 20 Afghan soldiers and police have gone missing since the fighting began and may have been taken hostage.

“Americans always want to fight in Afghanistan,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, who took credit for the attack by telephone. “If the Americans want to increase their troops, we will increase our fighters as well.”

Really? Were we to believe Mr Mujahid’s statement, we’d have to concomitantly believe that the Taliban are deliberately holding back, deliberately restraining their war efforts. Perhaps they read David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest, and figured out that that’s how American civilian strategists wage war. Unfortunately, from the Washington Post article I cited above, that seems to be just how Vice President Biden thinks.

He said the battle began about 6 a.m. Saturday and involved 250 Taliban fighters. He claimed that dozens of American and Afghan soldiers were killed, along with seven Taliban fighters. Mujahid also claimed that the district police chief and intelligence chief were among the hostages, but that could not be confirmed.

I’m reminded of how I felt in November 2006. Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek‘s liberal but respected foreign policy analysts, published a big report entitled “The Drawdown Option.” The piece threw down the gauntlet on the Iraq war. Go all in or get out. My response, amid the frustrations, was to give the U.S. a year to turn things around. We had face over two years of catastrophic danger in the war, and the radical left has long declared the conflict a debacle. I’m not quite there yet on Afghanistan, but the way the media’s spinning this conflict – and the way the Obama administration is positioning itself for a cut-and-run — I may well be soon.

I wrote of the stakes in Afghanistan last week, following a New York Times report indicating that the Mumbai terrorists were gearing up for a new round of conflict. See, “Another Mumbai? Qaeda-Taliban-Lashkar Ready to Strike Again.” It turns out that Dan Twining, at Foreign Policy, wrote a report last week as well, “The Stakes in Afghanistan Go Well Beyond Afghanistan”:

The problem with the current debate over Afghanistan is that it is too focused on Afghanistan. There is no question that the intrinsic importance of winning wars our country chooses to fight — to secure objectives that remain as compelling today as they were on September 12, 2001 — is itself reason for President Obama to put in place a strategy for victory in Afghanistan. But the larger frame has been lost in the din of debate over General McChrystal’s leaked assessment, President Obama’s intention to ramp up or draw down in Afghanistan, and the legitimacy of the Afghan election. In fact, it is vital for the United States and its allies to recommit to building an Afghan state that can accountably govern its people and defeat the Taliban insurgency — for reasons that have to do not only with Afghanistan’s specific pathologies but with the implications of failure for the wider region and America’s place in the international system.

The facts are lost on congressional Democrats and the hardline antiwar left. But as I noted at my report above, a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will invite another attack on America on the scale of September 11. And both security experts and military personnel agree: “This is a moment in history we must not miss.” What’s missing is a committed and resolute civilian leadership to see to it that America gets the job done.

Dr Douglas nailed it:

What’s missing is a committed and resolute civilian leadership to see to it that America gets the job done.

Barack Hussein Obama asked for us to hire him to be our Commander-in-Chief, and the majority of American voters — I was not in that majority — chose to give him that job. Mr Obama told us, when he was running for President, that President Bush had erred by focusing on Iraq, and giving scant attention to Afghanistan. Well, he is now President Obama, and has been for 8½ months now. President Obama did do one thing right: he decided, last March, that the problems in Afghanistan and the lasless areas of Pakistan were really one problem, requiring a comprehensive, overall strategy. OK, fine. Trouble is, since making that wise determination, President Obama and his team have done nothing else. We are seeing this problem brought to the forefront of public attention only because General McChrystal went public with his request for more troops and a stronger commitment.

In the middle of last May, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates replaced General David McKiernan with Lieutenant General Stan McChrystal as head of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. We’re 4½ months into General McChrystal’s command, and we still don’t have any changes in the policy of the civilian leadership toward Afghanistan. The President put General McChrystal in command of executing our policy, but hasn’t made any changes to the policy yet, and I doubt that the civilian leadership had any plans to turn over policy to a military commander.

Yet with a new man on the ground, one who is a former Green Beret and formerly commander of the military’s clandestine special operations in Iraq, the Washington Post story indicates that the White House leadership, led by “skeptic in chief” Joe Biden — odd that the Post story didn’t mention the actual President’s role — seem locked in to the same type of thinking that brought us the measured responses which served us so well in Vietnam.

Still, there is a much more basic decision to be taken, and it can only be taken by the President of the United States. Are we going to fight to win in Afghanistan, or are we going to fold and flee? Tactics can and will change, as the strategic situation changes, but that very basic decision must be taken first.

Dr Douglas, a self-proclaimed neo-conservative — when he has commented here, he has signed himself as the Americaneocon — is certainly not one inclined to the fold and flee position, but even he is frustrated by our lack of commitment. One way or the other, the President has to take a decision, to fight or to fold. Our President asked us for this authority and this responsibility; to continue to let it fester is an abdication of his duty.

23 Comments

  1. I like the juxtaposition of pictures and headlines on DRUDGE today. Is there something out of sync???

    OBAMA DATE NIGHT: CELEBRATE WEDDING ANNI…

    10 TROOPS KILLED IN DEADLIEST BATTLE OF YEAR

  2. Oh, now I get it Yorkshire, Obama’s wedding anniversary is responsible for the most unfortunate loss of eight (not ten) more US troops in Afghanistanm according to Drudge, you too?

    It is a good thing that Obama et al and McChrystal are reviewing strategy and tactics as we speak, because this war has turned badly for our side.

    It is a tragedy that Bush-43 abandoned the winning efforts in Afghanistan to go at Iraq, a colossal mistake that you on the Right would rather not talk about anymore!

    How many more deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been avoided if Bush-43 did not make this shift. I guess you on the Right don’t wish to talk about this historical fact either, or am I wrong?

  3. Perry:
    Oh, now I get it Yorkshire, Obama’s wedding anniversary is responsible for the most unfortunate loss of eight (not ten) more US troops in Afghanistanm according to Drudge, you too?

    It is a good thing that Obama et al and McChrystal are reviewing strategy and tactics as we speak, because this war has turned badly for our side.

    It is a tragedy that Bush-43 abandoned the winning efforts in Afghanistan to go at Iraq, a colossal mistake that you on the Right would rather not talk about anymore!

    How many more deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been avoided if Bush-43 did not make this shift. I guess you on the Right don’t wish to talk about this historical fact either, or am I wrong?

    War is Dynamic, not static. You haven’t figured that out yet.

  4. I reject the premise that GWB shifted. To shift means to ignore one side in order to look at another side. GWB did not ignore Afghanistan. But GWB did add another focus (not shift focus, in my opinion). The fact Saddam Hussein was paying families of sewer-side bombers 25k USD is lost to you and your ilk. The fact that Iraqi citizens are very welcoming of US forces is lost to you and your ilk. The fact that my daughter gave first-hand evidence of such is lost to you and your ilk.

    One of these days you’ll become honest. I still hold out that hope. I may be unreasonable in that hope, but there it is. I still hope that.

  5. Perry Forgetting Saddam ignored Sanctions:
    It is a tragedy that Bush-43 abandoned the winning efforts in Afghanistan to go at Iraq, a colossal mistake that you on the Right would rather not talk about anymore!

    Perry, the Left’s memory is the shortest distance on the face of the earth. What would you have done, with the Sanctions being ignored, UN bribed oil for food (for Iraqi troops), shell game with WMD’s, Saddam paying for terror, and I guess, you as Clinton did, ignore all that.

    Remember how France double crossed us and stabbed us in the back with Chirac? I guess the Left’s memory was it was paradise in Iraq with humans being thrown in shredders and tortured.

  6. I already busted Perry for claiming he never saw any of what I claimed. I posted a link showing a link. And I posted his comment, claiming I used leftist extremists to validate my supposedly extremist view. He continues to dodge the various links I posted on that and he continues to demand more linkage that he, based on his past behavior, will dodge and ignore when provided.

    The problem with Perry is he is ever desirous of poking himself in the eyes to not see the truth of the matter while espousing his already disproven mantra.

  7. Still, there is a much more basic decision to be taken, and it can only be taken by the President of the United States. Are we going to fight to win in Afghanistan, or are we going to fold and flee? Tactics can and will change, as the strategic situation changes, but that very basic decision must be taken first.

    You’ve been there before…

    But, you know, please do *stay* in Afghanistan. Keep pouring your troops and treasure into that country. After all – it’s only a matter of will, right? If you just keep believing, keep being willing to pay and pay and pay, I’m sure you can conquer the place.

    The Soviets were just pussies.

  8. Yorkshire succeeded in diverting us from the topic that Dana introduced, so let me try to get back on topic.

    Dana, after a long rambling discussion, winds up with this important comment: “Still, there is a much more basic decision to be taken, and it can only be taken by the President of the United States. Are we going to fight to win in Afghanistan, or are we going to fold and flee? Tactics can and will change, as the strategic situation changes, but that very basic decision must be taken first.

    Dr Douglas, a self-proclaimed neo-conservative — when he has commented here, he has signed himself as the Americaneocon — is certainly not one inclined to the fold and flee position, but even he is frustrated by our lack of commitment. One way or the other, the President has to take a decision, to fight or to fold. Our President asked us for this authority and this responsibility; to continue to let it fester is an abdication of his duty.”

    Fight to win or fold and flee? This is exactly the same simplistic question that was asked by the Bush people in the middle of the failing Cheney/Bush Iraq War, and “stay the course” was the simplistic answer we were forced to tolerate for far too long. Fortunately, finally, Bush surrounded himself with wiser advisers who came up with a much better tactic, the Petreaus approach, when implemented made way for an eventual exit strategy short of failure, or so it seems.

    Now Dana and other neocons are asking the same simplistic question re our war in Afghanistan, which we are losing, and they want an instant answer, so they latch onto the leaked Field Commander’s analysis, wishing it to immediately override Obama’s more deliberate pace.

    Thank goodness we now have a thinking man as our CiC, one who recognizes that a well thought out strategy must come before any decision on tactics, one who seeks inputs from many sides in order to expand his perspective before decisions on either strategic or tactical issues are made.

    Dr. Douglass represents the neocon view that all Muslims are jihadists, therefore American military power must be used to the fullest iin order to establish an American hegemony over these forces. These are the people who precipitated the Iraq War, with the goal of establishing a permanent American military presence there, with the construction of a $600 million embassy/military headquarters plus 15 military bases scattered from one end of Iraq to the other. This was to be a permanent occupation which included control over Iraqi oil.

    Now the neocons wish to fight their war in Afghanistan to total victory, whatever that is. Is it to be a permanent occupation of Afghanistan? Just as we would never allow such an invader to do this to us, neither the Iraqis nor the Afghans would allow such a takeover by an occupier. There would always be an active insurgency against us. That is the nature of nationalism and defense of the homeland. You could call it ‘natural law’.

    So the simplistic question of fight to win or withdraw is not a valid question. The valid question is: What should we do to maximize our national security? Underlying that question is another: What are we able to do?

    There are limitations on our power which we must recognize, and there are limitations with regard to collateral damage and unintended consequences which we must take into account.

    Frankly, it disturbs me that the McChrystal report to the President was leaked, as this implies that some elements of the military are moving into the political sphere, which is exactly where they do not belong, as per the Constitution which specifies that the President is the CiC of our armed forces. Remember General MacArthur!

    It would not surprise me to find out that there is an element in this country who hate and distrust Obama so much that they would nurture and welcome a military coup overthrowing Obama. Do you agree? Are you one such person?

    Since this decision is critical, we must allow the President the time he needs to gather the required information and hear the views of a wide array of experts in order to make an intelligent decision on strategy and tactics, in order for us to move forward to maximize our security.

    My preference is to refocus our resources on homeland security, border protection, incoming shipping inspections, intelligence activities, and the like. I do not believe there is any such a thing as victory in Afghanistan, thus nation building will be a long range quagmire which will not substantially improve our national security. If we stifle al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, they will pop up elsewhere, like Somalia, like Yemen, and they will maintain a presence in the Afghan-Pakistan border regions. Thus, homeland security needs to be our primary focus, in my view.

    PS: Steven Brant has an interesting piece on the management approach that Obama appears to be using in order to come to the best decisions for our nations security, using a holistic approach pioneered by the late Peter Drucker. Check it out right here.

  9. Thank goodness we now have a thinking man as our CiC, one who recognizes that a well thought out strategy must come before any decision on tactics, one who seeks inputs from many sides in order to expand his perspective before decisions on either strategic or tactical issues are made.

    What we have is a Hamlet, a Jimmy Carter who vacillates and fails to show resolve.

  10. “Thank goodness we now have a thinking man as our CiC, one who recognizes that a well thought out strategy must come before any decision on tactics, one who seeks inputs from many sides in order to expand his perspective before decisions on either strategic or tactical issues are made.”

    Kinda like we absolutely had to have TARP passed in a day, or health care reform in a week. A real thinker, this One. He’s so inexperienced and out of his league he makes Carter look like Winston Churchill.

    Never held an executive position. Never ran a business. Never held a real job. Spent his whole adult life living off the largess of like-minded leftists and nursing the govmint teat. Wow, what a friggin’ genius!

    But I know he cares so much. I’ll tell you what; when he gets his brother out of the ghetto in Kenya and his aunt out of the ghetto in Boston then I’ll believe how much he cares.

  11. John, you diverted from the topic of national security and launched an ad hominem attack on the President.

    You have just revealed your priorities, and they suck, especially after your side has been the primary cause of our weakened global position on national defense, our increased probability of terrorist attack, our overall weakened position wrt worldwide alliances to fight terrorism, and our vastly weakened economic position, in my view.

    And on top of all that, your moral fiber is lacking wrt the provision of more cost effective health care alternatives for our own citizens, and wrt your past attempts to weaken the safety net already provided for those who need it.

    Your party is a backward, regressive oriented entity that has been doing this nation harm for three decades by greasing the deficit wheels and by initiating increased wealth accumulation aimed at those already at the top. And it continues on Wall Street, I’m sure you’ve noticed, and kept silent about it.

    Look at your leaders: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michele Malkin, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, a raft of America haters, but you folks revere them anyway, otherwise they would not be so influential on you folks, the base. Their main role is to stir up anger with lies and misrepresentations, which then brings out the attack that you just made, John. They cheer when we lose the 2016 Olympics — that’s an example of where we are with your side.

    How can you possibly defend this current philosophy, this behavior, this record of the Right? You can hardly call yourselves Conservatives, because true Conservatives do not behave in this manner!

    President Obama has more on his plate than any President since FDR, as he tries his best to rescue a sinking ship. And all you can do is attack him personally. This really sucks!

  12. Perry Ponders:
    PS: Steven Brant has an interesting piece on the management approach that Obama appears to be using in order to come to the best decisions for our nations security, using a holistic approach pioneered by the late Peter Drucker. Check it out right here.

    Perry, Bush’s problem in Iraq was he didn’t listen to the Generals on the ground. And it almost cost us Iraq. He pondered and shuffled and shifted. Then the surge was introduced by Patreus as a dynamic new start. It worked. So, now, you are saying the CiC should make the same blunder Bush made in not listening to his commanders on the ground, the ones who count heads, the ones right there with the action, the ones who see where the enemy is, to ponder for an indefinite amount of time a divine new strategy from the One who has never donned a uniform, and who’s only campaign he has ever run is an election campaign.

    Now if you want to compare an election campaign to war, there is some validity. If you noticed all the generals (candidates) strategized 50 (or 57) states to see where people and campaign workers were needed, where ads were changed overnite, where funds were shifted to meet demands in one state or another, to pick states where the most good for them would work. You could call Alexrod BO’s General on the ground and he ran a successful campaign as BO is President. If you can take a few seconds there you will see the campaign was dynamic. Polls ever shifting, states needing reinforcing, ads needing updates. So, if BO can see the Dynamics of Campaign Warfare, why can’t he see the dynamics of war. In a campaign, no lives were lost, but in a war, one company of soldiers can mean the difference of success or failure, and lives. What is so damn hard with this concept????

    If you understand election campaigning, you have the basics of warfare. Now what you would say here, BO should take a week or two weeks to figure out a new campaign strategy in a crucial state, and then his opponent just overtook him in the polls there for procrastination.

  13. Perry puts the cart before the horse:

    Fight to win or fold and flee? This is exactly the same simplistic question that was asked by the Bush people in the middle of the failing Cheney/Bush Iraq War, and “stay the course” was the simplistic answer we were forced to tolerate for far too long. Fortunately, finally, Bush surrounded himself with wiser advisers who came up with a much better tactic, the Petreaus approach, when implemented made way for an eventual exit strategy short of failure, or so it seems.

    Now Dana and other neocons are asking the same simplistic question re our war in Afghanistan, which we are losing, and they want an instant answer, so they latch onto the leaked Field Commander’s analysis, wishing it to immediately override Obama’s more deliberate pace.

    The field commander’s analysis is about strategy and tactics, but it cannot — and should not — answer the basic question: are we going to continue the war in Afghanistan, and try to win it, or aren’t we?

    Thank goodness we now have a thinking man as our CiC, one who recognizes that a well thought out strategy must come before any decision on tactics, one who seeks inputs from many sides in order to expand his perspective before decisions on either strategic or tactical issues are made.

    I suspect that we shall continue to agree to disagree on whether our current Commander-in-Chief is a “thinking man,” but again, this is not about strategy; it is about commitment.

    Strategies can and do change as conditions change, but strategy is of little use without commitment.

  14. Perry, you are correct I did get off topic, sorry. I did it because you intimated you thought Obama is a wise, experienced and weighty person. I obviously feel the opposite. I did not mean it as ad hom, I meant it as an opinion only. Sorry again.

    As far as Afganistan goes I was not for going in to begin with. Usually I believe that once we are in we must fight for victory. At this point I reluctantly admit the US has lost it’s will to win. In both theaters. Therefore, again reluctantly, I believe we should remove our troops and let the enemy declare victory. They will you know.

    It is a New America today. One which is influenced not by what we gain or who we save or protect, but rather by what we loose. No nation can win a war if a large segment of the people won’t let it. We are either all in or we better get all out.

  15. Dana concludes: “Strategies can and do change as conditions change, but strategy is of little use without commitment.”

    Bush’s problem in Iraq was that he committed to a flawed strategy, then refused for too long to change the strategy when it became more obvious that it was flawed. Moreover, his attempt to justify his strategy was flawed as well, adding to the likelihood of failure. I won’t even bring up the details of his tactical mistakes, because they were so obvious, yet you Republicans stuck with him in lock-step loyalty, in denial of obvious facts, for the sake of the party over country and over the lives of American troops and civilian casualties in Iraq.

    The surge approach to improve security, combined with befriending/supporting Sunni tribal leaders, representing a tactical shift, corresponding to an unspoken strategy shift, which was to give up on a permanent occupation of Iraq, and to give up on controlling Iraqi oil, and to continuously reduce our overall footprint in Iraq. So the original mission (strategy) failed, to be rescued in the end by changing the mission.

    In Afghanistan, Obama et al are now faced with the probability of changing the strategy, due to impending failure of the current strategy. It would indeed be foolish to continue committed to a strategy that is not working, like Bush did in Iraq for far too long. For one thing, American lives remain at stake, for what may be a lost cause. How can a CiC justify continuing this sacrifice for a strategy that is not being fulfilled?

    On the economy, Bush-Obama had the strategy and commitment right, but have faltered somewhat on the tactics they chose, as Obama et al now continue on their learning curve in uncharted territory. The strategy was to prevent the US and the globe from falling into another Great Depression caused primarily by US negligence and slovenly overindulgence (huge personal debt), in which they have succeeded, though not acknowledged yet by the Right. I do agree that some tactical adjustments are necessary, like getting the stimulus out more quickly in order to get more jobs generated. We also must step up our regulation of Wall Street, before they turn around and put us right back into the same hole all over again.

    So yes, we have to be very careful to commit to a viable strategy, to be willing to change the strategy when it becomes obvious that change is needed, and to constantly review the tactics we choose to make the strategy commitment successful. A desire to change the strategy of governance is what brought Obama and the Dems to power in 2006 and 2008.

    Considering the context and magnitude of the challenges, I think it is working out quite well so far, but we still have a long way to go, like years, in the commitment to these changes to make them happen successfully. It is much too much to expect huge progress in nine months after three decades of the Reagan initiated negligence in government oversight of critical segments of our economy, of our domestic policies, and of our foreign policies, in my view.

    My rant is now over!

  16. I agree, Yorkshire!

    And Reagan attacked the problem by huge increases in spending and tax cuts for the wealthy, which created worse deficits, forcing him to raise taxes three times before his two terms were over!

    To attack this new problem, he raised taxes.

    It wasn’t until Clinton that spending and revenues finally were brought into balance, in fact, at the end of Clinton, we had a surplus, which Bush-43 wrecked by cutting taxes favoring the wealthy, increasing spending including off-budget to support the Cheney/Bush Iraq war, and encouraging domestic debt by Greenspan holding interest rates artificially low for too long.

    Add to that the Repub Congress avoiding oversight on the machinations of Wall Street, well you know as well as I where the economy is now as we speak.

    I blame the American people ourselves as much as I blame Bush-43 and the Repubs and Wall Street, because we are the ones who maxed out our credit cards and signed on the bottom line for sub-prime mortgages on our new castles. I call it another American Tragedy.

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