How much more time does President Obama need? Dillying and dallying on Afghanistan.

Donald Douglas noted this article from Investor’s Business Daily:


Americans, In Reversal, Now Back Afghan Troop Surge


By Sean Higgins, Investor’s Business Daily

As President Obama mulls the military’s request for a big troop build-up in Afghanistan, Americans have swung in favor of such a move, according to a new IBD/TIPP Poll.

The survey of 927 adults found that a plurality of 48% favors sending more troops and resources to Afghanistan. That’s a sharp reversal from September, when Americans opposed the idea, 55%-35%.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forc es in Afghanistan, has reportedly asked for another 40,000 troops to help control rising violence.

But Obama is in no rush to make a decision, holding a series of high-level meetings with military and political advisers on his next move.

And the upsurge in overall support for more troops in the IBD/TIPP Poll may not sway Obama.

That’s because the turnaround comes from a surge in support from Republicans — up 27 points just in October to 72%. A month ago, GOP respondents had leaned against sending more troops, 47%-45%.

Independents narrowly support beefing up America’s commitment to Afghanistan, 45%-42%.

But Democrats say no more blood and treasure by 57%-32%. Many congressional leaders have signaled their reluctance to send reinforcements.

Much more at the link.

Let’s assume that the survey is accurate, and that Republicans support an aggressive policy to win the war, and Democrats think it can’t be won and shouldn’t be fought. At some point, President Obama has to take a decision about what he is going to do, because not deciding what to do, just letting things fester, should not be an option. The President owes it to the public, and as Commander-in-Chief, he owes it to the soldiers and Marines serving under his command: either decide to fight and win, or get the Hell out; anything else is a senseless waste of American lives, leaving our Army and Marine Corps in harm’s way for no purpose at all. As an IBD editorial put it:

The president’s decision to withhold more troops over the country’s less-than-pristine election is nothing but stalling. For our soldiers, desperate for reinforcements, it’s a slap in the face.

It is a reasonable point to say that President Obama shouldn’t be too rushed, that he needs time for a considered response. But he has also been our Commander-in-Chief for nine months and a day now, very nearly a fifth of his whole term, and it has to be asked: just how much more time does he need?

45 Comments

  1. I totally agree. How much more time does he need to figure out that Congress has not issued a Proclamation of War, therefore, it’s unconstitutional and illegal?

  2. Obama’s too busy trying to figure out how to silence Fox News, (which is up 20% in viewership since Emanuel and Obama started this media attack), The man is an utter embarassment as a “leader of the free world”. I’m sure liberals are proud to call him their savior while our troops and the military leadership wonder why political considerations take priority over putting an end to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

  3. “As President, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy – one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin. I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

    What a failure.

  4. Well, “finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban” doesn’t necessarily mean winning the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; a fight you lose can still be a fight that is finished. Of course, losing that fight means that stated goal number three, “securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states,” won’t be realized.

  5. I think you’re oversimplifying the options here. The one I hear favored most on the left is a scaling back in Afghanistan, concentrating on al-Qaeda and the unfriendly elements of the Taliban centered around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It’s not a complete withdrawal, just a more focused approach. I haven’t done enough reading about the Afghan war to form an informed opinion on which option is best, but that’s one I hear thrown about a lot.

  6. The way I’m looking at it, he’s given two victories to the Taliban and Al-Q. First he stated he would deal with the Taliban to include them in the Afghanistan governing process. Thus legitimizing the Taliban, and totally overlooking the atrocities committed by them, and were the guardians of Al-Q. But I think BO might see the light where the Taliban are trying to get Pak’s nuke weapons.

    And Second, by stalling with an answer on the troops, he has broadcasted a weakness of will and backbone to see what he promised through. In short, he talked a mediocre game, and his actions are less than that.

    Trying to distract us with the FOX News War, the no action on unemployment, the Healthcare Fiasco where he has yet to introduce his version of healthcare hoping to take glory if it passes, and has Congress to Blame if it fails (that says no backbone, or no Balls) the constant campaign mode and other Fiddling while Rome Burns, has told the world he’s weak, ineffective, and has no convictions.

  7. And remember, McChrystal’s original request came back in March. BO has had seven months to make this decision. Funny how he could switch gears in the campaign, reallocate campaign workers, shoring up states that need help, switching campaign strategies on a dime, make up new ads to fit the situation, but hmmm, can’t make a life or death situation for the country, but would make it for his narcissistic self.

  8. Let’s assume that the survey is accurate, and that Republicans support an aggressive policy to win the war, and Democrats think it can’t be won and shouldn’t be fought.

    I thought you were talking about dumping 40,000 more troops into the country. At what point did this equal “winning the war”, which is something the Republicans have yet to define? Define ‘winning the war”, show why it has not been achieved in the 7 years since Bush invaded, and show why Obama committing an additional 40,000 troops would do so.

    I also point out that one estimate has it costing $750,000 per American soldier per year to be maintained in Afghanistan. Are you supporting a raise in taxes to pay for this exercise?

  9. The Phoenician asked:

    Are you supporting a raise in taxes to pay for this exercise?

    No, I am supporting throwing people off welfare to pay for it! I am for ending all luxury spending to pay for it.

  10. Define ‘winning the war”

    Defeating our enemies.

    show why it has not been achieved in the 7 years since Bush invaded, and show why Obama committing an additional 40,000 troops would do so.

    The generals on the ground think this is the best strategy. They may be wrong, but unlike you, me, and the Obama Admin, they are the experts in this debate.

  11. PS All during the campaign, Obama repeatedly referred to Afghanistan as the good war (in contrast to Iraq), the one we should be fighting and winning. Now he has a chance to do just that, and he’s waffling.

    There’s a reason a lot of us think he’s today’s Jimmy Carter …

  12. >No, I am supporting throwing people off welfare to pay for it! I am for ending all luxury spending to pay for it.
    Yes, Phoenician, we’re going over to a 100% war economy, where progress is measured by body count… us, them, military, civilian, news corps… it’s all good! See, victory is just waving the flag, bloviating masculine phrases and nebulous purposes. Screw mercy and compassion and anybody in our way. What would Jesus do? Doesn’t matter. We’ll blow him away if he tries to stop us. Or nail him to a tree.
    It’s the Christian thing to do.

  13. Eric:“The generals on the ground think this is the best strategy. They may be wrong, but unlike you, me, and the Obama Admin, they are the experts in this debate.”

    No, Eric, the generals are the tacticians, the President is the strategist, a distinction that Cheney/Bush and the neocons, you too, do not appreciate, which is why we got into so much trouble in Iraq.

    You are really glib with your advice, since you are not in combat over there, Eric. I think for their sake, we better get this right.

    In Afghanistan, part of the strategy involves defining what winning is. With the current governmental instability there, determining the strategy becomes a serious problem.

    Obama is wise to delay his decision until Afghani governmental power is better defined. That’s not “waffling”, that’s wise decision making. What’s the big rush, Eric??? Oh I know, the big rush is to get one more zing in on Obama. That’s all that matters to you wingnuts. You could care less about our troops over there!

    In the meantime, the military can take up a more defensive posture.

    PS: Nangleator’s snarkiness has a lot of truth to it, in my view.

  14. Perry:
    In the meantime, the military can take up a more defensive posture.

    Is that so the enemy will know where were are and attack us? Or are you assuming the enemy will do the same while everyone works out a strategy, and then resume in the future?

    Al-Q has had its strategy for years, it’s called destroy us. If we pull back and just huddle while Obama makes up his mind, they will see this as a weakness.

  15. Phoenician:“I also point out that one estimate has it costing $750,000 per American soldier per year to be maintained in Afghanistan. Are you supporting a raise in taxes to pay for this exercise?”

    Phoenician, note that our wingnuts on here have no reasonable response to your point, only Dana’s useless snarkiness so far.

  16. Winning the Afghan war is simply a matter of landing more joes on the beach, breaking the front lines, open-field maneuvering, combined arms tactics, and liberating the towns and villages full of grateful civilians. Good old-fashioned American grit. Then, we’ll move on the capitol, and bin Laden will commit suicide in his bunker along with his girlfriend.

    Then, McChrystal can stand in front of a huge American flag and give a rousing speech, and Obama will forgive him his amusing insubordinate antics.

    After that, it’s just a matter of spending lots and lots of American tax money to rebuild the grateful Afghanis’ infrastructure.

  17. PIATOR’s false premises and out-of-context queries are well known. PIATOR doesn’t deserve an honest response. The times he gets an honest response have nothing to do with whether he deserves one.

  18. Then pay attention to Nangleator, who knows well what is going on with the wingnuts like you!

    And you do call yourself pro-life, don’t you. What a farce!

  19. Perry: “In the meantime, the military can take up a more defensive posture.”
    Yorkshire: “Is that so the enemy will know where were are and attack us?”

    Damn stupid idea, hunkering down where we have operational security and planned lanes of fire and fortifications and stockpiles of food and ammunition. Real men charge forward blindly! Who needs plans or strategies? Some limp-wristed Frenchman, that’s who. No, we Americans just need more bodies. Send us more, and we’ll cover Afghanistan with a skirmish line as wide as the borders and five men deep, bayonets fixed. As each Afghani is encountered we’ll… I guess make decisions based on how much they hate us. If any hatred exists, they die fighting. Or walking. Or sleeping. And the ones who love us we’ll leave alive. Or no more than half dead.
    And when the skirmish line reaches the other end, what’s left will be ready to become the 51st state.
    It’s all so clear. You fight an insurgency by getting more men. And more men after that. By god, one of these countries will be emptied out by the time we’re finished!

  20. PIATOR’s false premises and out-of-context queries are well known. PIATOR doesn’t deserve an honest response. The times he gets an honest response have nothing to do with whether he deserves one.

    Didn’t I last see you giving press announcements for Saddam Hussein?

  21. Obama is wise to delay his decision until Afghani governmental power is better defined. That’s not “waffling”, that’s wise decision making. What’s the big rush, Eric??? Oh I know, the big rush is to get one more zing in on Obama. That’s all that matters to you wingnuts. You could care less about our troops over there!

    It’s got nothing to do with “Zinging” Obama, you dipstick. We’re merely trying to hold him to his original promises. He spent a big chunk of the campaign telling us that Iraq was the wrong war, and Afghanistan the right one, and that he intended to fight and win. Now, as Dana pointed out, he’s dithering, and it looks like there’s a good chance he’ll do nothing. This means one of several things:

    1. He never intended to fight in the first place.
    2. He changed his mind,

    or

    3. He’s intimidated by the far left (MoveOn, Soros, Huff Post, etc.) and can’t stand up to their pressure. None of these bode well. The first indicates he’s dishonest, the second indecisive, and the third weak. You can cover for him all you want, but you can’t deny these basic facts.

    PS Don’t you accuse us of not giving a damn about the troops. Not giving a damn means not supporting their mission and letting them win, which seems to be the direction your Dear Leader is headed. That means their sacrifices will have been in vain. Is that what you want?

  22. PS Don’t you accuse us of not giving a damn about the troops. Not giving a damn means not supporting their mission and letting them win, which seems to be the direction your Dear Leader is headed.

    What we see here, gentlemen and any ladies that might be here, is the wingnut “Fallacy of Will” – the belief that anything can be done if the leader only wills it hard enough, and that liberals, with their namby-pamby consideration for reality, are weak for simply not wanting something hard enough.

    It never occurs to the wingnut, usually a juvenile speciman, that some things might not be achievable no matter how much you wish.

  23. Nangleator:
    Perry: “In the meantime, the military can take up a more defensive posture.”
    Yorkshire: “Is that so the enemy will know where were are and attack us?”

    Damn stupid idea, hunkering down where we have operational security and planned lanes of fire and fortifications and stockpiles of food and ammunition. Real men charge forward blindly! Who needs plans or strategies? Some limp-wristed Frenchman, that’s who. No, we Americans just need more bodies. Send us more, and we’ll cover Afghanistan with a skirmish line as wide as the borders and five men deep, bayonets fixed. As each Afghani is encountered we’ll… I guess make decisions based on how much they hate us. If any hatred exists, they die fighting. Or walking. Or sleeping. And the ones who love us we’ll leave alive. Or no more than half dead.

    Maybe Perry is thinking of a stratgic retreat. But I thought it more on what Patton said in WW2. He wouldn’t retreat and have to fight for the same ground again. I think this would be a possibility of giving back to the Taliban and Al-Q and let them strengthen, while we make a move that appears weak.

  24. Maybe Perry is thinking of a stratgic retreat. But I thought it more on what Patton said in WW2. He wouldn’t retreat and have to fight for the same ground again. I think this would be a possibility of giving back to the Taliban and Al-Q and let them strengthen, while we make a move that appears weak.

    Except, of course, the Taliban are not holding ground by dint of military force. Whereever you go in force, they retreat. Whereever you leave, they go. Because they cannot stand against you, they flow like water. They are not Germany. You cannot drive on to their capital and force a surrender. And you’re not just fighting the Taliban; you’re fighting the Afghans enraged by your occupation of their land and the murder of their fellows.

  25. First Eric says politely:“It’s got nothing to do with “Zinging” Obama, you dipstick.”

    Next he says:

    1. He never intended to fight in the first place.
    2. He changed his mind,

    or

    3. He’s intimidated by the far left (MoveOn, Soros, Huff Post, etc.) and can’t stand up to their pressure. None of these bode well. The first indicates he’s dishonest, the second indecisive, and the third weak. You can cover for him all you want, but you can’t deny these basic facts.”

    Unbelievable!

    Eric, let’s just put it this way: You are truth challenged!

  26. Yorkshire:“Maybe Perry is thinking of a stratgic retreat.”

    As I said, I was thinking of taking a defensive position. Is that a strategic retreat? I don’t know.

    I had in mind what Phoenician so well expressed about the nature of the battles in Afghanistan, a scene that you old soldiers have not yet internalized, in spite, Yorkshire, of what your son has already told you, I would guess.

  27. Along the lines of not knowing what is going on in either Iraq or Afghanistan, I found this statement by Retired General Paul Eaton quite noteworthy:

    “The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it. 2. Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11.

    The only time Cheney and his cabal of foreign policy ‘experts’ have anything to say is when they feel compelled to protect this failed legacy. While President Obama is tasked with cleaning up the considerable mess they left behind, they continue to defend torture or rewrite a legacy of indifference on Afghanistan. Simply put, Mr. Cheney sees history throughout extremely myopic and partisan eyes.”

    You can find this, and a link to more, right here.

    Retired General Paul Eaton, is currently a Senior Adviser to the National Security Network.

  28. From here:

    Every military counter-insurgency strategy hits up against the probability that it will, in time, create more enemies than it kills. So you blow up a suspected Taliban site and kill two of their commanders – but you also kill 98 women and children, whose families are from that day determined to kill your men and drive them out of their country. Those aren’t hypothetical numbers. They come from Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, who was General Petraeus’ counter-insurgency advisor in Iraq. He says that US aerial attacks on the Afghan-Pakistan border have killed 14 al-Qa’ida leaders, at the expense of more than 700 civilian lives. He says: “That’s a hit rate of 2 per cent on 98 per cent collateral. It’s not moral.” It explains the apparent paradox that broke the US in Vietnam: the more “bad guys” you kill, the more you have to kill.

    There is an even bigger danger than this. General Petraeus’s strategy is to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan. When he succeeds, they run to Pakistan – where the nuclear bombs are.

    Now, look at Eric’s comment about “defeating all enemies” again. Looking at this statement about the effects of collateral damage, Eric is actually saying that the US will wind up exterminating every Afghan. They will have to commit genocide in order to “save the country for democracy”.

  29. Perry:
    Yorkshire:“Maybe Perry is thinking of a stratgic retreat.”

    As I said, I was thinking of taking a defensive position. Is that a strategic retreat? I don’t know.

    I wouldn’t know what else to call it. Yes, this asymetrical warfare and the enemy doesn’t form lines and march into battle. But it’s hit and run surgical strikes that are used to keep the other side off balance. Both sides do it. If you withdraw to the fixed positions and wait for the Taliban to come to you, you’ll be sitting a long time while the Taliban and Al-Q take back any headway made.

    If you look at Iraq, when the surge finally happened, they made headway in to winning the countryside. Now the Iraqi’s patrol and we go out when needed. Afghanistan is no where near that. You can’t maintain a presence if you don’t have the means, and all you do is fight fires all day. It’s probably like fighting a major forest fire. If you have limited resources, the fire wins, if you throw everything against, the fire fighters win. Pulling back to fortifications is like sitting in the fire towers watching the whole thing, and doing nothing about.

  30. You can’t maintain a presence if you don’t have the means, and all you do is fight fires all day. It’s probably like fighting a major forest fire. If you have limited resources, the fire wins, if you throw everything against, the fire fighters win.

    Afghanistan is 250,000 square miles in area, and has a population of 28,000,000. And you believe an additional 40,000 troops is going to make the difference between a reactive “fire-fighting” stance and an smothering “occupy everywhere” stance?

  31. Hey Dana,

    Where’d all the chicken-hawks and military experts come from?

    These are the same crybabies that said 20,000 more in Iraq wouldn’t make a hill of beans. Oh, so wrong again.

  32. These are the same crybabies that said 20,000 more in Iraq wouldn’t make a hill of beans. Oh, so wrong again.

    Report: Satellite images show ethnic cleansing source of reduced Iraq violence:

    A study of the Pentagon’s satellite imagery concludes that ethnic cleansing — not last year’s surge of U.S. military forces — is the main factor in the reduction of violence in Iraq.

    The report’s conclusion about the surge’s ineffectiveness are supported by many Iraq experts and international organizations who credit a population shift with the decline of sectarian violence, especially in Baghdad, Reuters reported.

  33. You folks on the Right who are warhawks, raise your hand if you are one, simply refuse to face the reality of the fact that counter-insurgency and occupation, like in Iraq and Afghanistan, simply do not work, just as the same approach of another nation doing this to us would not work.

    Nationalists, which we all are, and which the Iraqis and Afghans are, will never give up defending the homeland.

    Therefore, we are withdrawing on a schedule from Iraq. Good for Bush-43 and Obama.

    We are not withdrawing from Afghanistan. Bad for Bush-43 and Obama.

    So what must we do? For the moment, we must hold fast, while the Afghans determine their government by a fair election run-off, after which we should minimize combat operations and shift to providing security for the Afghan population centers while training police and army, and rebuilding infrastructure. Simultaneously, we must put ourselves on a scheduled withdrawal schedule, like in Iraq.

    Regarding Pakistan, we must support their efforts to root out terrorists from their border areas, and continue to supply assistance to that troubled country. We need to reevaluate the use of American drones, as their use may be counter productive.

    What about homeland security? Our counterinsurgency and occupation strategies are making us less safe by providing motivation to support extremist Muslim militants in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan. These strategies are proving to be counterproductive to providing ultimate security for our nation.

    To provide ultimate security, we must focus our resources on our homeland, on our borders, on our incoming shipping by sea and by air. By thwarting several terrorist minded individuals recently, we are demonstrating the effectiveness of this type of homeland security, which must be expanded.

  34. 3. He’s intimidated by the far left (MoveOn, Soros, Huff Post, etc.) and can’t stand up to their pressure. None of these bode well. The first indicates he’s dishonest, the second indecisive, and the third weak. You can cover for him all you want, but you can’t deny these basic facts.”
    Unbelievable!
    Eric, let’s just put it this way: You are truth challenged!

    Interesting you can’t answer any of my points.

  35. In the meantime, the military can take up a more defensive posture.

    There’s a word for this. It’s called “Surrender”. We already know that’s the approach Pho favors. I’d like to think you’re not quite as wimpy.

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