How often would one imagine that a wartime President, as Commander in Chief, would meet in the first eight months of his term with the overall commander of the theater of war that this President had said was too often overlooked by his predecessor? Once a month? Especially given how much public consideration this President has given the political and strategic questions of the fight, perhaps that might be once a week over the last couple of months?
How about once a … lifetime?
The military general credited for capturing Saddam Hussein and killing the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq says he has only spoken to President Obama once since taking command of Afghanistan.
“I’ve talked to the president, since I’ve been here, once on a VTC ,” General Stanley McChrystal told CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.
“You’ve talked to him once in 70 days?” Mr. Martin followed up.
“That is correct,” the general replied.
In June 2008, Barack Obama said that it was time for a redeployment from Iraq that “refocuses on Afghanistan and our broader security interests.” In the same speech, he committed to “taking the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. … as President, I will make the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.”
Five months later, Obama won the election and prepared his transition. That was ten months ago. If Afghanistan is his “top priority” and “a war that we have to win,” wouldn’t Obama have carved out a little time in his schedule to meet with the man tasked with winning it more than once since appointing him in June? It may have forced him to skip a Wagyu beef dinner and perhaps a night on the town in New York City, but those are the sacrifices that a CinC has to make from time to time.
In comparison, how many conversations will Obama have in Copenhagen to land the Olympics for Chicago? What does that say about the Commander in Chief’s priorities?