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December 07, 2009

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clarice

He does this a lot, doesn't he? Say something ridiculous to shore up the left and then send his troops out to say he didn't mean what they clearly heard him say. As for the LAT, HEHE

Old Lurker

Like during the campaign when he told the Canadians one thing about NAFTA and then sent the hacks out to take it back. And some voted for him anyway.

Bill Peschel

Nice of the Times to admit Obama is not a liar, he's "calibrating the message":

"As they seek to explain the new war strategy, administration officials face the task of calibrating the message about America’s commitments in Afghanistan to different audiences, foreign and domestic, each of whom wants to hear different things."

Also, note on in the Times story on Obama's Afghan plan this:

Now as his top military adviser ran through a slide show of options, Mr. Obama expressed frustration. He held up a chart showing how reinforcements would flow into Afghanistan over 18 months and eventually begin to pull out, a bell curve that meant American forces would be there for years to come.

“I want this pushed to the left,” he told advisers, pointing to the bell curve. In other words, the troops should be in sooner, then out sooner.

Considering that the final plan covers 18 months, I'm assuming that the bolded phrase is an error; that he was shown a chart showing the Americans in for years, and him selecting an arbitrary date for the pullout to begin ... which happens to coincide with the 2012 elections. Not that the Times would point that out, being so politically naive about such things.

bgates

“I want this pushed to the left,” he told advisers

I bet he says that a lot.

BB Key

I hope Mara Liasson does not get into a discussion of withdrawal dates on Fox New.

Amarissa

LOL! Loved the headline!

Extraneus

Where have we heard that word "calibrated" before?

Hmmm.

President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully in the controversy over the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Didn't we have four possible definitions at the time? I can't remember if one of them was "change one's story."

matt

so "who did he lie to?" is the only real question here.

Obama lied, Leftists cried.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Grrrrr. Just heard a story on that stupid hamster pet that is all the rage as this year's #1 must have toy for Christmas. The name of this ugly little rodent is "Mr. Squiggles." I've had the Squiggles name registered since 1994. Why do I always miss the pot of gold?

your mama

every time odumbo uses big words it shows how stupid he is.

The Unbeliever
Reporting from Washington - It started out as a projection from the military, intended only for the ears of the president and his top advisors. But in a war council meeting at the White House less than a month ago, Obama proposed making it public.

Such a bold and decisive leader we have. His major contribution to the war plans turns out to be "let's move this thingy here to the left", and "let's hold a press conference to announce something we probably shouldn't announce publicly".

I can't imagine the serious military leader types sitting around a conference table, jumping up and seizing on these ideas as some kind of great help in their jobs.

Sue

Someone this morning said that even though Bush mangled the English language, you never had to spend days trying to figure out what he meant. However, with the greatest orator ever, you have no freaking idea what he means.

J

I bet he doesn't even go the distance of 2011....bails next year. What a pathetic waste.

RichatUF

J-

Since he already authorized about 20k in Afghanistan earlier this year, I'm wonder if he'll use some CAC accounting and deduct what has already been committed from his headline 36(-ish)k and only send about another 16K. He would do something like that and the media would cover for him.

matt

it's easy Sue. He means whatever he wants it to mean whenever it suits him with the caveat that it's all BS and going to change the next time he opens his cakehole anyway so just shut up and believe in hope and change.

Last guy I read about who got away with this was some Austrian politician back in Germany in the 30's.

anduril

Real good article at Politico: Obama's dangerous Afghan gamble. The author had hands on Afghan experience in the Bush WH and is basically saying that, just as Obama doubled down on Bush's economic mistakes, he appears prepared to double down on Bush's foreign policy mistakes:

President Barack Obama has presented his strategy for Afghanistan as a corrective to profound mistakes made there by President George W. Bush’s administration — mistakes including not killing or capturing Osama bin Laden and other senior Al Qaeda leaders, not finishing the job against the Taliban and taking its eye off the ball by going into Iraq.

I saw these mistakes firsthand in my role as director for Afghanistan, Iran and Gulf affairs at the National Security Council right after the attacks of Sept. 11. I judged these mistakes to be so serious that I took myself off the Afghanistan part of my portfolio in mid-2002. Unfortunately, Obama risks repeating many of his predecessor’s mistakes in Afghanistan, on an even bigger scale.

One of the Bush team’s biggest mistakes was to rely on Afghan “allies” on the ground to go after bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. As a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee report documents, senior CIA officers ["real CIA guys"] were deeply skeptical that American “allies” in Afghanistan, drawn largely from the Northern Alliance and non-Taliban Pashtun militias, were really inclined to fight Al Qaeda. Their skepticism was validated at the battle of Tora Bora, when our Afghan “allies,” according to one senior CIA officer with long experience in Afghanistan, “proved to be loyal to bin Laden” and “allowed the key guys to escape.”

...

But the success of Obama’s strategy relies almost completely on the emergence of competent Afghan military and security forces motivated to fight Al Qaeda and various Afghan militants. Assuming that the U.S. military can produce a relatively competent and unified Afghan security apparatus over the next 18 months is fanciful enough. Assuming that an Afghan security apparatus will be willing to fight against Al Qaeda willfully ignores the historical record.

Put starkly, there is simply not a critical mass of Afghan constituencies that have a significant interest in fighting Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001; it did not attack Afghanistan. America’s war against Al Qaeda is not the Afghan people’s war.

...

In doing this, the Obama administration will be repeating another of its predecessor’s mistakes — pitting America’s “allies” in Afghanistan against Pakistan’s proxies there. This is a no-win scenario, no matter how it plays out. By supporting the enemies of Pakistan’s allies, the United States will either further escalate the ongoing civil conflict in Afghanistan or push the Taliban and other Pakistani proxies out of Afghanistan and into Pakistan, where they will potentially threaten the stability of a nuclear-armed state.

In the end, there is no solution to Afghanistan’s ongoing civil strife save a power-sharing arrangement involving the Northern Alliance and the Taliban along with other militant factions and tribal leaders. President Hamid Karzai, to his credit, understands this and for years has wanted to bring the Taliban into a serious political process...

...

More broadly, the Obama administration has alienated Karzai and other important power brokers in Afghanistan with a misplaced focus on Western-style electoral democracy — another Bush illusion — and rooting out corruption. The key players in Afghanistan are not clean, Western-style democrats. But these players have their own legitimacy among their tribal, ethnic or sectarian constituencies and are, therefore, vital to power sharing, stopping the fighting and achieving some measure of national reconciliation and stability.

... One is left with the discomfiting sense that, at its core, Obama’s approach to Afghanistan is designed to minimize domestic political criticism and risk over the issue for long enough to get himself reelected.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

Matt' comment reminds me of Humpty Dumpty's quote in Alice in Wonderland:

When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'

anduril

OK, whereas the Politico article takes the pessimistic view, this piece from Stratfor takes what I consider to be an optimistic view: The Jihadist Strategic Dilemma. I'm more than a little dubious of some of the assertions here, but here's a slice of it:

The strategic dilemma is this: The United States is engaged in a spoiling action with the primary aim of creating conditions in which jihadists are bottled up fighting indigenous forces rather than being free to plan attacks on the United States or systematically try to pull down existing regimes. And the current jihadist strategy plays directly into American hands. First, the attacks recruit Muslim regimes into deploying their intelligence and security forces against the jihadists, which is precisely what the United States wants. Secondly, it shifts jihadist strength away from transnational actions to local actions, which is also what the United States wants. These local attacks, which kill mostly Muslims, also serve to alienate many Muslims from the jihadists.

The jihadists are currently playing directly into U.S. hands because, rhetoric aside, the United States cannot regard instability in the Islamic world as a problem. Let’s be more precise on this: An ideal outcome for the United States would be the creation of stable, pro-American regimes in the region eager and able to attack and destroy jihadist networks. There are some regimes in the region like this, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The probability of creating such stable, eager and capable regimes in places like Iraq or Afghanistan is unlikely in the extreme. The second-best outcome for the United States involves a conflict in which the primary forces battling — and neutralizing — each other are Muslim, with the American forces in a secondary role. This has been achieved to some extent in Iraq. Obama’s goal is to create a situation in Afghanistan in which Afghan government forces engage Taliban forces with little or no U.S. involvement. Meanwhile, in Pakistan the Americans would like to see an effective effort by Islamabad to suppress jihadists throughout Pakistan. If they cannot get suppression, the United States will settle for a long internal conflict that would tie down the jihadists.

1. I'm not sold on the idea that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are truly "stable, pro-American regimes in the region eager and able to attack and destroy jihadist networks." They have shown themselves capable of suppressing internal terror, but let's not forget the degree of support for insurgents of all stripes in Iraq that the Saudis provided.

2. I certainly agree that the long term prospects for stability in Iraq and Afghanistan are poor--the internal divisions are too deep and the rival groups too well armed with too scores to settle.

3. The idea of provoking long term internal turmoil in Pakistan does not reassure me (h/t narciso), but then nothing about that country does.

There's lots more if you follow the link.

Jane

Anduril,

Is there a reason why you can't post a link instead of those gawd awful long posts? This is the second time I've made that request of you.

Dave (in MA)

Jane, what else would you expect from a "Hobbit" nut?

Jane

I dunno - maybe some manners.

centralcal

Anduril post a link, perhaps a brief (one or two lines) excerpt, or get your own damned blog!

JorgXMcKie

At least Obama's speeches differ from Clinton's. With Clinton it all sounded great, but the next day you couldn't remember or find that he had actually said anything. With Obama you remember what he said, you just can't decide exactly what it meant.

clarice

HEH! You have a point, Jorgx.

anduril

In response to popular demand, I herewith post a link: Godwin's Law.

narciso

I'm off for a night, and too much garbage gets circulated. So Reidel I assume decided
to walk off the AQ fight, because they didn't do exactly what he wanted them to do, except capture Zubeydah, Al Nashiri,
Al Libi, KSM and the Gitmo contingent. So dealing with the Hazara and the Tadjiks is worse than dealing with the Pashtuns

No, the Saudis are as stable as the Czarist
Russia was, and for about the same reason.
As for Egypt, consider all the mid level
AQ with the nom de plum Al Masri

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