Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Dithering: Obama Seeks Province By Province Analysis of Afghanistan

President Obama has asked senior officials for a province-by-province analysis of Afghanistan to determine which regions are being managed effectively by local leaders and which require international help, information that his advisers say will guide his decision on how many additional U.S. troops to send to the battle.
Obama made the request in a meeting Monday with Vice President Biden and a small group of senior advisers helping him decide whether to expand the war. The detail he is now seeking also reflects the administration's turn toward Afghanistan's provincial governors, tribal leaders and local militias as potentially more effective partners in the effort than a historically weak central government that is confronting questions of legitimacy after the flawed Aug. 20 presidential election.
"There are a lot of questions about why McChrystal has identified the areas that he has identified as needing more forces," said a senior military official familiar with the review, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations candidly. "Some see it as an attempt by the White House to do due diligence on the commander's troop request. A less charitable view is that it is a 5,000-mile screwdriver tinkering from Washington."  MORE 
Quite frankly this is crazy.  Obama assigned McChrystal to handle this region, now he is second guessing the guy all over the place. I don’t see how officials in Washington who never fought a war could possibly know better than the general who is actually on the ground.

To make matters worse, counting on local provinces to do their own policing sounds like a sure fire way to completely lose control of the situation.  I could understand Obama’s plan better if the US already had full control of the situation, but we don’t. So giving up control here and there seems like the best way to fracture our over all effort and makes it a whole lot easier for Al Queda to surge further by picking off one province at a time.

Basically Obama is doing everything he can to avoid sending more troops, a move that is sure to anger his base further at a time he needs their support to get his health care agenda through.  The whole thing is just a shame.


namaste said...

"the whole thing is just a shame."

you are kinder in your assessment than i.

5,000 mile screwdriver, indeed! ugh!

Writer X said...

More excuses from Obama. If he's spending time even dithering about Afghanistan, it means he doesn't have a tee-time today.

SSG_E said...

I was just discussing this with someone on another blog. This person insists that the flawed election was a "game-changer" and they don't think we should do anything until we have a "legitimate partner" in the Aghan gov't. This person also believes Obama should take his sweet time deciding because it is so important and that we shouldn't "give Karzai a blank check written in American blood". I would dismiss this as pure leftwing BS, but this person has a loved one going to Afghanistan shortly. They are not a leftie zealot, they are just emotional and misinformed. I think I made my case well that inaction here is as bad or worse than wrong action. The Afghan people themselves are a legitimate partner that we need to support. They are losing faith in us due to Obama's dithering and they will start to turn to the Taliban. Clearly the 17000 troops Obama sent earlier this year was not enough. If his general says send more troops, he better send at least what is asked for. If we allow politics to dictate tactics we will lose. As I have said for many years now, do it right, do it now, or get us home.

Stogie said...

The term "paralysis by analysis" comes to mind. Obama is seeking to avoid making hard decisions; his analysis is BS.

Anonymous said...

These recent attacks has put Obama on the spot. I hate to think that he put on a photo opt going to Dover Air Force Base while fallen soldiers were return to the country. Obama cannot make decision, he couldn't as a senator and he can't as a President.

commoncents said...

Love your page! Keep up the great work!!

Janelle said...

Voting present over one hundred times isn't leadership. I don't see any indication than outside of teaching a few courses, that this President has ever had a job. If he appears ineffectual, that would explain why. Now he has a job, the most demanding job and the lack of experience is showing.

Anonymous said...

Giving control to the local provinces is a sure fire way of escalating the war. Afghanistan is unique in the sense it's made of many different tribes and in Islam, it's all about which thug gets to rule. These tribes are just going to ally themselves with the Taliban and the Taliban will just play all sides against themselves and the US and let them do their work and they'll waltz in when they're done weakening each other. That's how they got their power in the first place. When Bush came in, he managed to get them unified against their common enemy. Now they see that enemy as an ally against their enemy tribes and the outsider UN forces, mainly the US. Obama couldn't be planning a bigger set up for our complete humiliation and utter defeat if he wanted. Oh wait, perhaps he does.

Clifton B said...


You are right, I am being too kind, considering all the lives that are at stake.

Clifton B said...

Writer X:

Give him time, he will find a way to use golf as an excuse for waiting to make a decision on Afghanistan. LOL

Clifton B said...


You make a very valid point about not waiting. I also see waiting as risky. By wasting time, it is very possible that we could lose all control of the situation and thus render it impossible to fight the Taliban, Al Queda or stabilize the Afghan government. Time is of the essence.

Clifton B said...


I think the dithering is all for domestic political gain. Obama clearly does not want to offend the far left. They are already pretty PO'ed because health care reform is teetering.

Clifton B said...


I think Obama is delaying on purpose. I don't think he is agonizing over the decision. It works towards his domestic agenda [what he truly cares about] to delay the whole troop surge.

Clifton B said...


Much thanks!

Clifton B said...


No experience was the number one reason I did not vote for the man. If he had so much as ran a candy store, I would have had something to go on. Why did anyone think that he could handle such a big job with no experience?

Clifton B said...


I have to agree, turning over control to local providence right now, seems like a sure fire way to lose control of the situation. Afghanistan is not as stable as Iraq.

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