One More Reason To Put Off The Ultimate Decision
The decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan or not has been bandied about by the Obama administration as if it were the decision of what main course to serve at a party. That is, no urgency at all. September 26 General McCrystal placed his request for 40,000 additional troops. While this was a discussion the Obama administration knew would be coming, they treated it as if this was the first that they had heard of Afghanistan. That day became the jump off point for the administration to begin deliberations, not with the General who received 25 minutes with the Commander in Chief on a tarmac in London, but with the politicians and military yes men surrounding the President.
While the country, the world and particularly the combat troops who are risking their lives daily wait for the decision from on high, daily meetings on this issue are not taking place. Rather, the President continues on his domestic agenda, frivolity (shout-outs to Lady Gaga and dancing with Thalia), fundraising and finally campaigning for Democrats at risk of losing next month. All while soldiers are well in harms way.
Rahm Emanuel, the White House consigliore, had some comments on Sunday morning shows that are quite instructive, indicating that only now, and at a snails pace, is this administration, in office over 9 months, examining the strategies and options in a major war theater. To this point health care, executive pay and the Olympics have not only been on the front burner, but the only burner lit.
“Before you commit troops, which is not irreversible but puts you down a certain path, before you make that decision, there's a set of questions that have to have answers that have never been asked..."
“It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop levels if, in fact, you haven’t had a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner,...”
While those on the left love to hate former Vice President Cheney, these are the comments that he made on Wednesday night pointing out the hypocrisy of the President:
(LA Times) "Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission....It’s time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger.
Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries. Waffling while our troops on the ground face an emboldened enemy endangers them and hurts our cause.
Now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to implement the strategy they embraced. It’s time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity."
The Run-off Elections
The newest opportunity for the President to put off any decision on strategy is the run-off election due to take place November 7 between Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah. As you can see by the statement above, the outcome in two weeks will be a major cog in the administration decision making process.
My take is that regardless of the outcome of this election, the United States, greatest power on earth, needs to make a tactical decision in order to make the most solid attempt that we can to put a cap on a terrorist breeding ground. This breeding ground will be there regardless of who wins, and plans have to be implemented accordingly.
It is time for the health-care cheerleader in chief to become what his most critical job actually is, Commander in Chief of the world’s last remaining superpower. This is not the time to be exhibiting weakness and indecision not seen in the White House for some time.