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September 22, 2009

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MayBee

Patterico noticed that a WH Staffer was referring to McChrystal as "Stan".

That can't be a good sign.

Obama is a sorry leg, and a sorry liar.

Airborne!
=======

I'm a pissed off jumpin' junkie.

His sorry lies run down his sorry leg.
======================

matt

AATW! Hooah!

Do you realize that Dear Leader stated on Sunday that the issue of trop increases was moot, because he had not yet been asked?

Funny how the WaPo then was slipped a copy of the McChrystal report, which was submitted August 30. I have a feeling it was payback from our friends in the intel community.

Mr. Obama is caught out in another bald faced lie. Think we have a pattern here? LUN

Charlie (Colorado)

Mr. Obama is caught out in another bald faced lie. Think we have a pattern here?

Well, not quite. McC hasn't submitted the formal request through the chain of command — which I think at this point is John McHugh and Obama — but then he's apparently heard that such a request would not yet be welcome via the JCS. (You may recall the "whisky-tango-foxtrot moment".)

Appalled

My inner cynic suggests Obama wants to get a withdrawal going in order to tell people he's now able to pay for healthcare. Remember the savings the proposed withdrawal from Iraq generated?

matt

Chaco;

It has been sitting on Gate's desk since the 30th and the WH has had copies since then. Washington kabuki yes, but only for the sake of plausible deniability.

I'm sick and tired of Washington plausible deniability when it comes to urgent military requirements. Obama lies. Troops die.

hit and run

JTOCOSFMMD: A Jump in Troops for the Overseas Contingency Operations to Stem Future Man-Made Disasters

Jack is Back!

Its not as easy as we may think.

McChrystal has come to this recommendation after being there for a little over 6 months. In order to make the "jump" you need a plan and you need readiness. That is probably what the DoD is working on with input and liaison with Jim Jones.

If this is not the case and the Once abandons McChrystal like the libs and dems wanted to do to Petaeus then McC resigns. That could be a worse outcome for the Once than tanking on Afghanistan. The media will of course make McC out to be the bad guy - disloyal racist militarist but the snowball could pick up all kinds of senior officers including Gates. If they decide to cold turkey Afghanistan then I see Gates leaving also as a protest to poor judgement.

The Once is in a pickle. He has no background at all in military history, strategy, situational awareness or even organizational protocol. He will either listen to McC, Gates and Jones - take their wisdom to heart, transfer it intact to the telepromter for a prime time address to America in which he invokes the word "I" and "Me" a thousand times or he ends up as a failure not unlike Carter.

The ball is now in your court POTUS. Time to act like a real President - not a pretend one.

Charlie (Colorado)

I'm sick and tired of Washington plausible deniability when it comes to urgent military requirements. Obama lies. Troops die.

I'm sympathetic, but it hasn't really. The report is on Gates' desk. I don't have the key to the office, but everyone is reporting that the actual staffing request, which is a particular formal document, hasn't been transmitted yet.

If I had to guess when the endgame starts, it would be when, at some point here, McC goes ahead and transmits the request, possibly without getting the go-ahead, and then resigns when it's returned as not being "ripe" yet.

Sue

Speaking of getting a jump ahead of...I can't keep up with Tom anymore. Yeah!!!! He's back with a vengeance.

Charlie (Colorado)

The ball is now in your court POTUS. Time to act like a real President - not a pretend one.

that rather is the problem, isn't it? So far, he's still doing what he did in the campaign: asserted he was above all this nasty particularization, that he had a "plan" that the commoners would be responsible for making specific, and campaigned his ass off.

On this one, he really is going to be forced to take a position, it's a rather binary choice. So far, it appears he can't make a decision.

Old Lurker

Charles K nailed the Once on Fox last night by reading from the President's March (?) statement, flanked by Sec State and Sec Def how his action announced that day followed a complete review of all facts and conditions, and represented a brand new strategy that he had develoiped and was being announced that day. He then went on to fire the then commander and install his own.

Which makes his remarks this weekend incredulous. Does he not understand that tape exists?

Perhaps less important but annoying still, in his remarks yesterday he claimed more time to decide because of the burden on him personally of having to write letters to the families of dead soldiers. So once again, it was all about me, me, me.

I could not be any more disgusted with this guy.

Rob Crawford

Which makes his remarks this weekend incredulous. Does he not understand that tape exists?

Sure -- but he knows it won't be played outside of "right-wing nut" territory. The press lies by omission much more by commission.

MayBee

On this one, he really is going to be forced to take a position, it's a rather binary choice. So far, it appears he can't make a decision.

This morning, NPR was playing a clip of Obama saying that before he makes the decision to send more troops, he needs to be able to explain to those parents if their son/daughter dies.

And I just thought...does he know there are sons and daughters dying there now, on his watch? It's not like there's a moratorium on troop deaths while he tries to make a choice about what to do.

DebinNC

The disputed Afghan election in August is the WH's excuse for the delay. They say they don't want to send troops to prop up a corrupt gov in Kabul. Leon Panetta looks like a likely scapegoat to me. Maybe Leon's expletive-filled screaming episode last July in the WH had less to do with the torture memos and more to do with the WH's exit strategy from Afghanistan - blame the CIA. If BO had only had better intel, he'd have never made those promises in March and May.

matt

Charlie;

The way the chain of command works, it goes to Petraeus, then DoD and JCS, then the White House for endorsement. Once it hits DoD it's official.

Gates can hold it on his desk, but the reality is that it hit the WH the day he got it. Jones, etc would want immediate access.One of the reasons I think pelosi came out 10 days ago with her statements is that they saw copies on the Hill as well.

This has been a hot potato for months. Remember, McKiernan was unceremoniously canned for the same request; a disgraceful action in light of his service and record. Now McChrystal is telegraphing his intentions. For a man who has given his entire life to his country, nothing is more serious.

Bush had a unique relationship with Petraeus, allowing him access previously denied to a theater commander. If Petraeus didn't have that access, by the way, the surge would never have happened. Now Obama is hiding behind protocol.

bishop

Right, because we know that Karzai disqualified all the candidates on the ballot, enabling him to run unopposed, wait that's the other guy, Hell if MacChrystal goes, who would be crazy enough to take that
job,

MayBee

ha! bishop!

DAVOD

I do not understand why Obama would refuse a request for an additional 40,000 troops to aid in man made disaster prevention.

matt

Deb;

as if every government in the ME isn't corrupt? It really is laughable. The Afghan government is in fact a kleptocracy, but the same holds true across the arc from Jordan to Vietnam. Actually, it is the degree of corruption that must be managed.

I always felt there should be a large multinational company called GovCorp that could go into places like Nigeria, The Congo, etc and actually manage the day to day operations of each country in the interests of the people. Hire honest judges, bureaucrats etc. And do fixed percentage contracts. But it would put the corrupt politicians out of work. Imagine if any of these countries could apply resources its wealth equitably.

Obama's position is simply a canard. We knew all of this 5 years ago and put Afghanistan on the back burner. Now it's 1975 all over again. The Dems, with some wrong headed neocons, want to cut and run.

bishop

Right we give Egypt 3 billion a year, and they sent us Mohammed Atta, I know it's a simplification, but it's one Mark Steyn seized on. The problem with GovCorp is that it might occur to the local politicians, well. . .

DebinNC

...as if every government in the ME isn't corrupt?...The Dems, with some wrong headed neocons, want to cut and run.

Exactly. What justification will Obama give though? He's got to blame someone other than himself. The only question is who/what.

JM Hanes

Chaco:

"You may recall the "whisky-tango-foxtrot moment"."

I think that WTF exercise was the writing on the wall for the current contretemps, don't you? Jim Jones was pretty clear that keeping troop levels "flat" was part of the Obama strategery back on July 1st in Afghanistan:

National security adviser James L. Jones told U.S. military commanders here last week that the Obama administration wants to hold troop levels here flat for now, and focus instead on carrying out the previously approved strategy of increased economic development, improved governance and participation by the Afghan military and civilians in the conflict.

In fact, Jones as much as told McChrystal directly not to ask for more troops, before the General even got going on his review: "The day before in Kabul, Jones delivered the same message to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the new overall commander in Afghanistan."

Jones description of the White House position was pure, unadulterated Obama, a President who personalizes everything, including the process of military decision making:

Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. "At a table much like this," Jones said, referring to the polished wood table in the White House Situation Room, "the president's principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan." The principals -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gates; Mullen; and the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair -- made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson's Marines.

Soon after that, Jones said, the principals told the president, "oops," we need an additional 4,000 to help train the Afghan army.

"They then said, 'If you do all that, we think we can turn this around,' " Jones said, reminding the Marines here that the president had quickly approved and publicly announced the additional 4,000.

Now suppose you're the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel?

I can just guess how Obama feels about an unwelcome request from an ingrate he elevated who then refuses to play ball. Let's not forget that this is the President who keeps score.

Bush era ironies, of course, abound. "One senior military officer said privately that the United States would have to deploy a force of more than 100,000 to execute the counterinsurgency strategy of holding areas and towns after clearing out the Taliban insurgents." Add Shinseki to the mushrooming lefty list of unmentionables.

JM Hanes

DebinNC:

"What justification will Obama give though?"

Pick me! Pick me! He inherited an Afghanistan so royally fubared by Bush, that even a Messiah couldn't save it.

Lou Shumaker

Obama is in a terrible position, because if he doubles-down on Afghanistan, it's going to take a decade to build that country.

Iraq at least had a functioning central government. Corrupt, but functioning enough that we can leave. Afghanistan's going to have to be dragged from the 14th century, and that's harder.

So what does Obama do? Go for the surge, knowing he'll have to defend his actions for the rest of his term? Or declare victory, pull back to Pakistan and use the drones against AQ?

It's a tough decision for him; tougher for the troops in harm's way.

clarice

Shrewd analysis,jmh.

Time for us to start quoting Shinseki more--I'm sure mother jones and kos have lots of nice things they said about him that we can fn when we do that.

Thomas Collins

Jack is Back, my fear is that Obama thinks that a real President apologizes for past US military ventures, not provides leadership in ongoing ones. Also, we are talking about an Administration that didn't come up with its own stimulus plan or health care plan. Now we are left to hope that Obama can think through a complicated military strategy.

Obama would rather facilitate UN discussion groups than be a real Commander in Chief.

I have never so hoped that I would be wrong about my assessment of the leadership skills of a politician.

Gregory Koster

Your friendly JOM bookie here, taking bets:

Who is going to be more badly screwed in the next year:

a) the Afghanis or
b) the Hondurans

Bets to paid off in Cash for Clunkers vouchers or Claifornia IOUs.

Myself I think The Once's solution to Afghanistan is to "give" it to Pakistan. Allows him to suck up to Pakistan, be generous at someone else's expense, and solve the Paki nuke problem by having them used against the Afghanis...

bgates

How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel?

It's funny, because I was just watching Dr Strangelove last night -

Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb... The *Bomb*, Dmitri... The *hydrogen* bomb!... Well now, what happened is... ahm... one of our base commanders, he had a sort of... well, he went a little funny in the head... you know... just a little... funny. And, ah... he went and did a silly thing... Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes... to attack your country... Ah... Well, let me finish, Dmitri... Let me finish, Dmitri... Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?... Can you *imagine* how I feel about it, Dmitri?
DebinNC

Ralph Peters: More troops won't help

JM Hanes

Gregory:

Pick me! It's a trick question, because you can't get more badly screwed than totally screwed.


DebinNC:

Peters is one of the few who seem to understand the dimensions of the tragedy that our Hamlet of a President is writing.

Danube of Thought

As food for thought, the following is a letter sent by Chuck Krulak, past Commandant of the Marine Corps, to George Will following Will's column urging a pullout. I have not seen the letter published anywhere (it came to me via the alumni bush telegraph), but since he sent it to Will he clearly must have been speaking for attribution.

From: Charles Krulak
Date: Sep 1, 2009
Subj: Afghanistan
To: George Will

Sir,

I would imagine that your article, "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan" will result in some "incoming" on your Command Post. First and foremost, let me say that I am in total agreement with your assessment. Simply put, no desired end state has ever been clearly articulated and no strategy formulated that would lead us to achieve even an ill defined end state.

A few points:

1. The strategy of "clear, hold, and build" would lead one to believe that the US and its Allies are capable of coordinating the elements of national power needed to affect such a strategy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just getting DOS and DOD on the same page is difficult enough...getting NGO's and nation building expertise into the fight is simply a non-starter in a country as dysfunctional as Afghanistan.

2. Your point about troop strength required to "protect" the population and carry out effective counterinsurgency operations is spot on. Instead of a surge of 21,000 troops, McChrystal would need a surge of hundreds of thousands. Not only would our Nation not support such a surge but, MOST distressing, the Military could not support such a surge. Not only are out troops being run ragged but, equally important and totally off most people's radar screens, our equipment is being run ragged. At some point in time, the bill for that equipment will come due and it will be a very large bill.

3. Typical of the 21st Century fight, we are fighting ideas as well as warriors. You cannot defeat ideas with bullets...you must defeat them with better ideas. For many reasons such as the dysfunction found in the Karzai government, the tribal nature of the country, the abject poverty of the average citizen, the inextricable link to Pakistan, we have been unable to come up with better ideas. We are systematically destroying the poppy field...the country's major source of revenue. At the same time, we are trying to encourage other agricultural efforts. This is one of our "better ideas"?? Sad as it is to say, we would do better to buy the poppy crop ourselves...ridding the world of a source of drugs and maintaining the Afghan economy.

4. What in Afghanistan is deemed our Nation's vital interest? Seriously? Who is the enemy? Seriously? Is the enemy of the United States the Taliban? Is the enemy al Queda? We need to determine the answer to those questions immediately. One would think we would have answered them already but none of our actions to date would indicate that we have.

Finally, your recommendation is sound. I would put "hunter-killer teams" along the borders and in suspected al Queda strongholds. I would support them with intelligence, logistics thru the use of parasail's, responsive airpower (need to be close), armed and unarmed (fitted with cameras, infrared, etc) drone, "reach back" capability for cruise missiles, and other capability as needed. The H-K Teams should be given minimal rules of engagement...when they identify the bad guys, they need to be empowered to take them out.

Again, don't be dismayed by the people who disagree with you. There are many retired and active duty military who feel you hit the bull's eye.

Semper Fidelis
Chuck Krulak
General, USMC (Ret), 31st CMC
31st CMC

clarice

DoT's back!!! Crack open the booze and bring out the caviar!

Welcome back aboard.

Reportin' fer duty.
==========

clarice

And not that lumpdish "caviar"--I meant the beluga in the back of the fridge.

Old Lurker

"I always felt there should be a large multinational company called GovCorp that could go into places like Nigeria, The Congo, etc and actually manage the day to day operations of each country in the interests of the people."

Hey Matt, why limit it to "places like..."...can we vote them into managing ours?

Oh wait. Hang on because at the rate we are piling up debt, we WILL be a place like...

Old Lurker

DoT!

OK now summer is over and we can get back to work.

Welcome.

bishop

If we move most of our forces, out of Afghanistan, where do we base this drones from Diego Garcia, Tadjikistan,

daddy

When does General Powell pop up and give us his advice? Maybe on Letterman on Wednesday, since Bill Clinton's got tonight's Letterman slot already booked.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Who is going to be more badly screwed in the next year:

a) the Afghanis or
b) the Hondurans

Americans.

Tom Maguire

Yeah!!!! He's back with a vengeance.

The kids are back in school so I am out of excuses. But not ammunition!

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Wasn't the conventional wisdom that the reason alQaeda got such a hold in Afghanistan was because we left them defenseless and so did the Russians. Isn't this what we are now contemplating doing again?

Tom Maguire

On this one, he really is going to be forced to take a position, it's a rather binary choice. So far, it appears he can't make a decision.

How binary is it? Mr. Split-the-Difference (Sorry, President The Find Middle Ground) has got to be casting about for some way to both add and withdraw troops. Not impossible!

Leslie Gelb in the WSJ opined that we need a firm plan to add troops now subject to a firm withdrawal timetable to force the Iraqis (sorry, Afghans) to pick up the load.

Since Dems love pre-emptive surrenders, Obama will probably go for it.

Original MikeS

I don't think there is a chance of leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban.

I regard Peters and Commandant Krulak's criticisms of the plan to turn Afghanistan into Colorado as important criticisms of the clear, hold, and build strategy.
Even more important are their descriptions of what could be successful along the borders.

When we make it our goal to protect the populace in Afghanistan we make the populace into a target. Those folks are likely to blame us if we fail to protect them.

On the other hand if our goal is to make the Taliban pay a price for attacking Afghans, it's harder for anyone to blame us.

bishop

Actually, the story laid out in Ghost Wars and to a lesser degree in Taliban, was the
Muj factions split and went to war with one another. The Saudis and the ISI armed the
Afghan Arabs, what became the Northern Alliance depended on less funding. The Taliban filled the vaccuum, and AQ eventually set up shop there

clarice

Those brilliant Gelb brothers!

glasater

A head's up--

Czech prez Klaus is coming up on CNBC with Bartiromo.

Thomas Collins

Welcome back DOT! I am celebrating your return by imbibing Bruichladdich Single Malt!

Luckily for me, I have finished reviewing a mind numbing indenture I had to read prior to the celebration.

Appalled

TM:

See DOT's note for a way for Obama to both send troops in, and take them out.

Ranger

I posted this in the previous thread, but it belongs here too I think:

Hot Air headlines links to Ace, who has this quote from a lefty blogger:

Escalation is a bad idea. The Democrats backed themselves into defending the idea of Afghanistan being The Good War because they felt they needed to prove their macho bonafides they called for withdrawal from Iraq. Nobody asked too many questions sat the time, including me. But none of us should forget that it was a political strategy, not a serious foreign policy.

There have been many campaign promises "adjusted" since the election. There is no reason that the administration should feel any more bound to what they said about this than all the other committments [sic] it has blithely turned aside in the interest of "pragmatism."

I'll add that after thinking about it, this really is nothing new for the Dems. George Stephanopoulos claimed that Clinton hadn't broken his "middle class tax cut" promise because he never meant to keep it, therefore it wasn't a real promise.

madawaskan

The people of Afghanistan have always been the target-of the terrorists.

70% of the population is under the age of 22 years old.

You can read that in the offical COMISAF Asessment-or-you can read this Krulak piece which has been referenced-how?

I"d like to see that refuted-on the record.

Send it to Jake Tapper if you think it's on the up and up-have him-anybody flesh that out.

Having been around the professional military officer corps for some decades now-my father being a military planner at NORAD before his retirement-and a combat vet of more wars than most-

I can tell you what he would think if Krulak-did do that-

Hell my husband CAOC Commander at Nellis before joining a group that advises Congress-

One word-

UNPROFESSIONAL.

madawaskan

btw-

Retirement is no excuse to do what that looks like on it's face.

I doubt it's true, And I doubt Krulak would "own it".

circumspect, discretion good words.

madawaskan

*its* face.

madawaskan

And let's see Krulak retired in 1999-[ after 9/11] I bet he's humble enough to know that the commander on ground-might have more resources at his disposal to assess the situation.

Sorry but knowing Krulak's retirement date-that "e-mail" is really starting to smell to high hell.

JM Hanes

DoT:

I think Kulak makes it pretty clear that this fish stinks from the head down. The idea that we are in Afghanistan solely for the purpose of hunting down bin Laden (in Pakistan!) and al Qaeda never made any practical sense, military or otherwise, except as a political campaign marker. The putative means (economic develpment, good governance, Afghan led security) and questionable rules of engagement are at odds with the putative objectives, and the allocation of resources is driven by the political climate stateside, not identifiable needs on the ground.

If you intended to design a military mission impossible, it would be hard to improve on that formula. Obama's obvious discomfort with military personnel is especially problematic in a C-i-C who appears to be giving little more than political lip service to a war our troops are out there fighting.

IMO, the central, fundamental problem is the nearly absolute foreign policy void where the critical assessment of what used to be called our "strategic interests" should already have taken place. In the mother of depressing ironies, Obama has been putting tactical horses in front of objective carts from the start.

As touched on above, I believe we do have serious strategic interests in Afghanistan. Obama's feckless protection of his domestic political capital and its terrible cost in young American lives, however, is unforgivable. We will be footing what is beginning to look like an incalculable bill for his indifference to the real world history of international dynamics in almost every other sphere as well.

Danube of Thought

I've been around the professional officer corps all my life, and my family has been part of it since the late 18th century. There are abundant--I should say innumerable-- instances of retired flag and general officers voicing sharp disagreements with US defense policy (see, e.g., Chesty Puller on Vietnam).

The letter's only "reference" is that it was sent to me (and many other alumni) by a fellow alumnus. The majority of the comments I have read from other recipients are supportive of Krulak's position.

It is not conceivable to me that Krulak is unaware of what has been attributed to him, nor is it conceivable that he would not have repudiated it instantly if the words were not his.

JM Hanes

Bold be gone!

daddy

I like how the new media meme is that Obama can't use the A-Team to focus on Afghanistan or Climate Change, because they're so busy fighting passionately to give us Health care. Yet as Rush tells us today, Obama stopped off in New York after doing Letterman to shoot hoops with some B-Baller's, and I think the hotel tab was only $7,000.00 a night.

madawaskan

DOT-

Be honest-if you were active duty and the game had changed as significantly as it has-after 9/11 how would you feel about a retired flag officer letter as un-resourced as this being floated around?.

Krulak has a right to know that this is being done in his name.

He has a right to have a chance to...

actually you have connections in this community that produced this-and they're the ones spreading it.

The retired Marine officer core is pretty damn small-so do what you think is right.

I don't think it is fair to Krulak to this point.

JM Hanes

I seem to be having a threadache. My comment on strategic interests in Afghanistan was over in None Dare. Didn't do very well on spelling *Krulak* either, alas.

madawaskan

What's conceivable to me is that it's not well sourced and Krulak wouldn't want to bring attention to something so underhanded because that's exactly what whoever did this-if it's not true- would want.

It's called-not giving it credence.

Porchlight

test

Soylent Red

All of this discussion hinges on the basic premise that Obama, if he could win easily and without giving up any real political capital, would choose to win. I think this premise is false.

Obama was raised at the feet of violently anti-US people, at the height of their powers during the Vietnam war. Thus, Obama was almost certainly inculcated with the notion that ALL US military action is inherently an imperialist war of aggression.

Certainly all of those years in Indonesia would have given him the mental framework to see the replacement of 14th century Islamist repression and ignorance with something like, I dunno, pluralist capitalism, say, as cultural imperialism if nothing else.s

So that's where he's coming from mentally. He would prefer no to be there at all because he doesn't believe that America has any inherent good to give the Afghans. He sees this as a residual from Bushitler's war to install a puppet government to exploit the brown man and destroy his real and legitimate form of governance. Stanley Ann would have, no doubt, taught young Barry how much more natural and noble local tribalism was compared to old fuddy duddy democracy.

Since winning in Afghanistan means undoing roughly ALL of the things that make Afghans what they are, can you think of a more glaring example of the kind of cultural imperialism Barry was taught to hate.

I've said it before: He may not want to overtly lose this war (as it would cost him political capital), but he damn sure doesn't want to WIN it. And we WILL be out of Afghanistan before he leaves office.

Danube of Thought

"how would you feel about a retired flag officer letter as un-resourced as this being floated around?"

I assume you mean un- sourced. I further assume that, given the distribution it has received and the people who have commented upon it, that Krulak's forbearance to repudiate it means that the words are his. And the fact that he sent the letter to a nationally syndicated columnist suggests to me that it was not intended to be cloaked in secrecy.

Did you by any chance read any of the commentaries sent from Iraq by Gen. Barry McCaffrey? Have you noticed any of the retired officers regularly commenting on television?

What is it about Krulak's retirement date that causes you to doubt the letter's authenticity?

Porchlight

Seems Krulak's letter is genuine - Will quoted it on an ABC News roundtable and Stephanopoulos links to a pdf of it in this report:

ABC News - George's Bottom Line

PeterUK

No point in a military campaign if there is no political dimension.
With Afghanistan there is no nation to build. The Taleban are not an existential threat and al Qaeda doesn't need Afghanistan,it has the whole of Africa.

madawaskan

Danube-

His retirement date makes me question his ability to have the same resources and therefore ability to assess the situation as compared to the active duty commander on scene.

really that simple.


I've got some stuff to do-I see Porchlight's link so I'm off to see that.

I'll tell you what- I guess it looks like humility and Krulak-I might have been naive and an idiot there-n'est ce pas?

I'm also having trouble getting this site to load so if I end up double posting I apologize in advance.

boris

"inculcated with the notion ..."

Extrapolation based on apparent ideology is unreliable. Possibly for anyone but especially the far left.

Any sucess would be pure accident but one might wishfully hope whatever misguided policies he implements in the ME are based on self interest ... which could literally be anything ...

DebinNC

What Obama was hearing in church in 2001 and 2003 from http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/blog/g/34fedc25-b630-48e8-b2f4-326c5d9d5314nti-military sermon">Jeremiah Wright about the American military.

madawaskan

Went and looked at it and I find this opening salvo and appeal to Will's ego really cringe worthy-immature

I would imagine that your article, "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan" will result in some "incoming" on your Command Post.

I'm not impressed-

madawaskan

I hate to keep heaping on but he is appointed-as commandant from 1995 to 1999.

After a certain rank the appointments are political.

That time frame makes him a possible creature of Clintons.

Now I really have to be offline for awhile.

Gregory Koster

Here's a question for Danube and all the other JOMers who are better plugged in to high military ranks than I:

The wheels finally turn enough, and The Once has to say yes or no to Stanley's proposal. He sez nyet, and Stan hauls out his resignation. Then The Once communes with the spirit of LBJ, and offers Stan Chief of Staff to the Army, or maybe even Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. In brief, The Once does to Stanley what LBJ did to Westmoreland: stuff more fruit salad and stars on him and kick him upstairs.

I admit, the sight of Stanley going upstairs would have a comic side. By law, the Chairman of the JCS must have four stars, hence Stanley would get one more. At the ceremony where it is pinned on, no sooner would it be done than Michelle would start smacking him with her shoe, pointing at the chips on HER shoulders, shrieking I GOT FIVE STARS ON BOTH SHOULDERS CAUSE I'M A GENERAL AND ADMIRAL IN THE ARMY/NAVY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT DUMMY. Stanley would stagger back to The Tank in the Pentagon, and moan to his fellow Chiefs that if only he had had that dreadful harridan in Afghanistan, our enemies would be in full retreat, and the question would be if we should follow them to Moscow or Beijing...

So how about it Danube? Will Stanley quit when The Once turns him down? Or will he float heavenwards after his double orchidectomy?

Ignatz

--Since winning in Afghanistan means undoing roughly ALL of the things that make Afghans what they are--

Soylent,

That is why I am none too sanguine about "winning" in Afghanistan. People have been trying to remake the joint for 4000 years and it never seems to work out as planned.
I suspect a more realistic version of winning would be something along the lines of what we're doing now for the foreseeable future. It's possible a bunch more troops and a strong COIN operation could work but there is nothing in history to give much optimism.
Hard to see how we could pull out without a disaster following unless we precede it with a mongol-like disaster of our own making to level the place, which isn't going to happen.
There's a reason countries regret invading this place.

--Did you by any chance read any of the commentaries sent from Iraq by Gen. Barry McCaffrey?--

Careful DOT. You appear to be engaging in forecasting or hindsighting or forehinding or something untowards.
BTW, welcome back.

bishop

The thing that's suspicious about Krulak's plan, is that is more the type of thing that
a 'snake eater' like MacCrystal would try.
Also the logistics of where to stage from
seem formidable. Now I am digging to deep to consider that Charles is in some part
'channelling' the attitude of his father, the late Victor Krulak, a major Marine player in Vietnam

matt

To date we have lost 830 killed in action and 2,500 wounded in action (not returned to duty/72 hrs). It has essentially been a low grade, underfunded war from the beginning.

The logistics train itself is problematic and we now depend on the good graces of the Russians since they screwed us in Kyrghistan.

In early 2008, the JCS and most advisors were dead set against the surge proposed by General Petraeus. So was the Democratic Left in Congress. It was only Petraeus direct access to Bush which convinced the president to giver the order to proceed.

We now have a similar situation, but a completely different dynamic. Arm chair generals are very good from 5,000 miles away, including the ones at the Pentagon.

Petraeus proved a lot of people wrong. He also wrote the book on succeeding in COIN. At present one of the ley problems is the complete mess of GO's, NGO's, foreign aid, and others, none of them coordinating. It's a Chinese fire drill.

I cannot believe that the situation has changed that much in a few months, because the facts are not in evidence. The Afghan election has little to do with the situation. It is the American political dynamic that is dictating success or failure.

A couple of weeks ago I posted on "why we fight". I also think that we should immediately send Jeff Dunham and Achmed the dead terrorist to do a series of Pushto, Tajik, and Turkmen translated shows. Boy if nothing else, it would pi** of the Talibi. Besides, people would probably laugh their butts of, and that in the end is the best way to fight fascists.

Danube of Thought

"...and therefore ability to assess the situation as compared to the active duty commander on scene."

If I'm not mistaken, the active duty commander on scene said (on about the same day Krulak wrote his letter) that without substantially more resources we would fail.

All those retired guys stay dialed in until their dying breaths. And the active senior officers give them VIP-type briefings with regularity.

Danube of Thought

Transitioning to a MAC in the morning. Will be hors de combat for a couple of days (except by I-phone).

Danube of Thought

I don't have any personal knowledge, but I suspect McChrystal, should he resign, wouldn't be offered a fourth star and wouldn't take it anyway.

matt

Ignatz;

The Gandaharan Kingdom was in place under different rulers for over 1500 years. There were ups and downs, but it was not all bad by any means. People forget this. It was a melange of cultures and at times was very wealthy. It was after the sunset of Gandara that the real dark age came. The Bamiyan Buddhas were a major destination for pilgrims until the 11th century.

Danube of Thought

BTW McCaffrey retired in 1996, three years before Krulak. And he's still commenting away.

PeterUK

This should be looked at in the same way as your Indian wars,only this time instead of light cavalry,the opposition have IEDs. These are made on an industrial scale from commercial fertilizer thoughtfully provided by aid agencies.
There will be no great battles,only the drip of slow attrition as NATO forces protect Afghan civilians whilst the Taleban try to kill both.
Having eschewed the technological advantages of mechanised warfare,NATO can only stand and take it. The bottom line,the Taleban can keep this up longer than we can.

Extraneus

I'm with Soylent. There's no way Obama gives a damn about Afghanistan, which as we know he only talked macho about in order to dishonestly argue against Iraq, for some serious lefty cred.

If any of his buds at the UN asked him during a hug "What the hell are you still doing over there?" he'd cringe with embarrassment.

"Just politics, bro. You know I'm with you guys."

Original MikeS

I'm not surprised when two generals are not in 100% agreement. This stuff is not like calculating how much rocket fuel it takes to get to the moon.

IMO, the end result of military action in Afghanistan is more likely to be decided by the stamina and determination of civilians in the West than by the Taliban.

At least in the short term a COIN strategy does have the support of many civilians in the West. The Commander on the ground says he needs more troops to do it. My concern is about the long term support in the West for any war.

clarice

"hors de combat "

Are those the camo pigs in a blanket?

Ignatz

--The Gandaharan Kingdom was in place under different rulers for over 1500 years. There were ups and downs, but it was not all bad by any means.--

Matt,
There was a place called Gandahar which was constantly overrun and subugated for a time by a myriad of different nations and tribes, but it was never tamed ( and I don't think it usually covered most of modern Afghanistan).
Some of them were absorbed some of them disappeared and some came to their senses and hightailed it out of that godforsaken place.
Kush, IIRC, was a kingdom which sprouted up in Gandahar and was large and powerful, but they were foreigners too and were absorbed or driven off.
There has never been fifteen hundred years of anything but turmoil and temporary and failed attempts to dominate the place.
And the last thousand years, including its annihalation by the mongols and the inculcation of Islam has only made it harder to mess with.
I'm not saying Afghanistan is a terrible place or the people are inherently bad. It's just not conducive to building something they don't seem to want; a nation. They're just independent and warlike and live in a place very difficult to subdue.
Seems to me there are three ways to deal with it,
leave it alone,
do a Genghis Khan on it
or put a fairly light force in that keeps the nuts tamped down and otherwise lets em do what they please. Trying to build a nation seems to me like a good way to throw away many billion dollars and a bunch of lives.

PeterUK

Ignatz,
The only reason the British invaded was to stop the inhabitants from raiding over the frontier.That was why there was so much action on the North-West Frontier,why there were so many tales of derring-do in the Khyber Pass.
The other reason was to deny the Russians access to India.

Jane

DoT's back!!! Crack open the booze and bring out the caviar!

I swear I read that as "open up the crack".

It's about bloody time DOT - you were sorely missed!

JM Hanes

madawaskan,

What concerns me is McChrystal's stance vis a vis what is purportedly being said in his name as an officer who is not retired. Taking public issue with your Commander in Chief is a dicey, potentially dangerous, proposition. It's one thing to indicate privately that you are willing to resign over a mission you believe will be doomed without additional resources. Given my experience on sundry boards, however, if I were C-i-C with an officer who attempted to exert pressure on policy with a public threat of resignation -- indirect or not -- I would tell Secretary Gates to have that man's resignation letter on my desk in 24 hours. It's that big a deal.

That said, I have virtually zero doubt that the big problem here is Obama -- which was also my take away from the Krulak memo. McChrystal's apparent willingness to let this story hang in the press, along with what looks like substantial, though as yet anonymous, sympathy among his fellows, suggests to me that big things have gone seriously wrong. I can only hope they haven't gone irreparably so, but it is extremely worrisome.

The original article. upon which Long Journal drew, is worth reading. Contra the Jones' spin I quoted earlier, McLatchy reports [emphasis mine] that:

The administration's seeming indecisiveness may be due to late realization of just how big a commitment would be required to pacify Afghanistan, a senior defense official told McClatchy.

Last March, the administration declared that it had a strategy for Afghanistan. Within days of taking office, it gave Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, 60 days to craft an Afghanistan strategy. He outlined a policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, which officials now refer to as "AfPak," and called for the United States to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" al Qaida.

The administration, however, never considered what resources Riedel's policy would require, the senior military official said.

As violence soared, it became clear that the administration's commitment of 17,700 more combat troops and 4,000 trainers to Afghanistan would not be enough to calm the country.

Obama may not be having precisely the kind of WTF moment that Jones was predicting, but he's well and truly stuck between a military rock and political hard place.

JM Hanes

The person who really seems MIA here is Petraeus. Has the CENTCOM Comander been hog-tied by his own CiC? Or is salvaging Obama's rudderless foreign policy beyond even his Herculean skills? Is he lying low or trying to keep his distance from the growing debacle? I would like to think he's in an undisclosed location somewhere, putting the finishing touches on a brilliant new manual for Afghanistan, but I'm not optimistic.

No coup; just 'Boo'!

I agree with JMH; this bluff, if it is real, by MacChrystal is stunning and bold. Methinks the military is very suspicious of Obama on too many levels.
================================

boris

"a fairly light force in that keeps the nuts tamped down and otherwise lets em ..."

Considering what Obama can get away with on spin alone ... that might be the best we can hope for 'till Obama's out.

Obama, with the help of the MSM, has the option to escalate the ROE without incurring the wrath of the ninnies. That way they can pretend to be fostering stability without the usual concerns about collateral damage.

centralcal

In honor of DoT's return to JOM, I shall have a martini tonight!

Thanks, Clarice for asking what hors de combat is, so I didn't have to. grin.

Cecil Turner

FWIW, I got that Krulak letter (in e-mail form) a couple weeks ago from an impeccable source. It's on the level. I also suspect the senior administration official calling McChrystal "Stan" is former Marine General Jones, which would be entirely unremarkable.

On the other thing, McChrystal has a duty to resign if not given the resources he thinks necessary to prosecute a war. I've not seen any public statement to that fact (which would in fact be inappropriate), but anonymous officers pointing out he would do what I take to be his clear duty (though admittedly one honored more in the breach . . .).

clarice

Bush treated Afghanistan exactly right. (Well, I'd have crushed it and left it to its own devises with a promise that we'd be back if they allowed any more attacks on us to be made from there but hoo ha that's so 19th century isn't it?) The more troops you put in there the more you are setting yourself up to be a massive military aid to dependent children's program with IEDs directed at you for your trouble.

Neo

Do we all remember when they left was saying that if Obama won the election, that things would get better with the Islamic world? Since he has taken office he has done nothing but cater to the Islamic world, yet the threat is as great as ever. Would anyone on the left care to answer why?

"America has come in a new, hypocritical face. Smiling at us, but stabbing us with the same dagger that Bush used," said Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri in the message.

matt

These were real, major cultures, Ignatz. As a crossroads, they were under regular assault, but each wave then restored order.

With the advent of Buddhism @ 250 BC the culture flowered for @ 700 years all the way to the Indus. They estimate the Bamiyan Buddhas were carved in @ 500AD, and it was itself a major cultural center. Gandhara was a very unique, somewhat remote empire from the ocean trade routes, and so never registered in many histories except when an invader came through, which happened every several hundred years. In a lot ways it was known only in myth. It still is.

The Buddhist and Hindu cultures were relatively stable. Taxila and some of the other centers of Gandhara like Peshawar were wealthy and built up great cities. Few people get there because of their location now unfortunately. The art was simply amazing.

Extraneus

if I were C-i-C with an officer who attempted to exert pressure on policy with a public threat of resignation -- indirect or not -- I would tell Secretary Gates to have that man's resignation letter on my desk in 24 hours

That's because you'd be confident of people's understanding of your own patriotism. Obama doesn't have that luxury. Instead, he must fear being discovered before he's amassed enough power that he wouldn't have to worry about that. If McChrystal resigns over this, Obama is wounded.

madawaskan

Danube-

Ya well McCaffrey...don't much like him either-what can I say-

I was trying to convince somebody that they should make them sign five year...sounds like it should be twenty....year contracts.

Pimping out to a press that makes the bucks off bad news-the formulary can't be too good.

I really hate to disrespect Krulak-while he was commandant we had the policy of no response to the USS Cole, or the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and-

Somalia.

JM Hanes

Follow the links that start at The Weekly Standard Blog....

The ones that sound like-Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick....

You'll find some answers perhaps, especially to where the players might be.

Basically there has been something pulled out.

Take a look at the report-"redacted", "redacted" kind of appears all over the place which leads me to another point-

McChrystal's clearance level is probably just a smidge higher than Krulak's.

And I do realize that I've messed up the hereke for Danube's welcome-

Try to take the personal out of this discussion-or try to empathize with the active duty on this-or McChrystal.

Take Obama's prior speeches-which align pretty well with the COMISAF assessment and look what has been done to him.

Now take it-further-look what has been done to what troops left out there.

Have you taken a look at the report?

In there-it is said that what was promised to McKiernan-and that as been properly vetted, approved and appropriated by this currrent Congress under Obama's months has not arrived on scene yet.

Yes-it is critical and for a variety of reasons the window of opportunity is closing-one particular worrisome one is that one of the more advanced terrorist organizations-can't remember which one does their annual review about this time frame and rains down the "new" during winter.

McChrystal is trying everything in God's name to brace for that, yet what does he have-cling ons from the Clinton era conspiring.

Funny how they went to George Steph....

The media began feeling their oats during Vietnam the Information Age bringing them the ability to give you war in your living room 24/7 it has changed everything.

Terrorism works because they don't have to answer to a formal government, an electorate and they can immediately adapt to the situation at hand. Add to that they get our own media as their porpaganda-again Somalia-brutal example of that.

It's weird how even ex-generals can view things as static.

And any comparisons to Russia in Afghanistan as soon as you see that-know it's absurd.

The Russians just by factor of proximity over centuries to the area have a lot of anomosities in the relationship that move both ways from the Russian to Afghani.

The Russians were poorly equipped conscripts, who had some brutal theories about controlling the populace, add to that I think over 70% of the Russian casualties were due to illness.

That's just for sarters and only what I can recall right now.

Good to shoot it with you, and if the trust here could be used to help-not too many of the active duty want to losethen all the better.

Demoralizing is the word that comes to mind-over and over again.

I though when Obama said perhaps the will is lost-he was talking about the public, not George.


sbw

Matt, I, too, think we should lock and load Achmed. Laugh them to their knees.

And why we fight ought to be something we carry proudly, even if Obama can't explain it using Cliff Notes.

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Wilson/Plame