Green Room

Which is worse? – a continuing series (Obama, Conservatives, and Afghanistan #3)

posted at 12:53 pm on September 20, 2009 by

I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or, in some way – you know, sending a message that America is here for the duration.

Mr. Presidentregardless of what you’re planning – that last part would be a good message.

To say the least, we’ve been here before – I feel like we’ve always been in this particular place with this particular politician, as we’ve often been with his party: Either he and they don’t get it, or they do get it, and that’s a lot worse…

Why does our Truly Great Leader feel a need to say these things? What positive purpose can it serve to put our commitment in question? Especially now… mere days after reversing himself on European missile defense, mere days before entering into the arena with our allies, rivals, and enemies on the world stage? If he has in fact decided to reject the generals’ war-winning plan, or is even giving the idea serious consideration – that’s all the more reason to keep it to himself until the last possible moment… unless his main concern is protecting himself politically on the far left.

Yes, I understand that what he means, on its face, is that he doesn’t want us to escalate just to prove that we mean it, but he really doesn’t seem to understand, and hasn’t for years really, anything about morale and the function of commitment in any fight. If he were Cortez, instead of burning his boats, he’d leave half his men behind to refurbish them for the earliest and most convenient return voyage. Can you imagine him speaking to the troops before a battle – or to a little league team before the big game? “Now, I don’t want you to focus on winning. Whether or not we win, I’m sure we’ll make do, and, frankly, I’m not even sure whether it’s worth showing up in the first place, or whether this all hasn’t been a big waste of time anyway, but, don’t worry, if the going gets tough, we’ll have an exit plan…” I imagine him as a doctor talking to a critically ill patient: “Giving up the fight against your illness is something we’ll have to consider. Bye now!”

Come to think of it, isn’t that kind of what he told that lady who’s very elderly mother had exhibited an extraordinary will to live?

Whatever the explanation, the TGL appears yet once again to be perfectly content having our enemies, our allies, fence-sitters, and our troops conclude that America’s days (ahem, in theater…) are numbered…

Allahpundit-style exit question before I lose all sense of decorum: If he rejects the Petraeus-McChrystal strategy, what do Petraeus and/or McChrystal do (other than say, “Yes, sir”)?

cross-posted at Zombie Contentions

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CKM — as you’ll see at my post, I believe the TGL says these things because he in fact has a different policy in mind, one that does not involve the commitment you correctly point out he is effectively disavowing.

Given Obama’s record of public comments on both Iraq and Afghanistan, I think it takes a whole heap of self-delusion for anyone to think that secretly, Obama really supports the commitment to stability and self-government in these two countries, and for some inexplicable reason just keeps blundering when he talks about it.

J.E. Dyer on September 20, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Or, JED, as on 9/11 and at sundry other opportunities, he somehow forgets to mention his support for the troops and their mission.

Still interested in the answer to the exit question. Observers on the left described Obama as having been “rolled by his generals” when he capitulated to Odierno and others on releasing detainee abuse photos. What happens when he takes the generals on? Are McChrystal and Petraeus and others the kinda guys who just roll over, attempting to make a strategy that they don’t believe in work? Won’t they be forced to give signals – whether they want to or not? Wouldn’t anything less than a full-throated defense of the alternative policy amount to a negative signal? Will that be enough for them to preserve and secure their self-respect, reputations, and, most of all, the lives and interests of their troops and allies?

Assuming Obama doesn’t surprise us, and go the whole nine yards on a victory policy – something that in your current post you clearly do not believe he’s going to do – what’s a good general to do?

CK MacLeod on September 20, 2009 at 2:32 PM

The “commitment” I took Obama to be talking about is the commitment to LEAVE. Now I am totally confused. I read this in conjunction with the item that sent me here. Argghh.

This is another dimension of the nightmare that is Obama. Domestic policy, and now foreign policy. Unfortunately, the dimwits who voted for this guy gave him the power to do whatever he wants. The question is whether he can be stopped or not.

tanarg on September 20, 2009 at 8:09 PM

Resign or stay and run counterstrategies to reduce the damage Obama can do? Hard choice.

tanarg on September 20, 2009 at 8:13 PM