President Obama’s Indecision on Afghanistan



President Obama said during the 2008 campaign and afterwards that the war in Afghanistan was a “war of necessity.”  I agree.  It is vital that we win there.  I’ve been perplexed by his slow response to his commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal’s, request for more troops.  A surge worked in Iraq, and with dealing with counter-insurgency more boots on the ground will help the existing troops in order for them to fulfill their mission in Afghanistan.

The White House is currently looking for middle ground, and President Obama appears to be leading more like a community organizer than a commander-in-chief.  They are thinking through a forward strategy, but seem to be balking at McChrystal’s recommendation, one that General David Petraeus backs.  The final decision appears to be yet weeks away.

But they continue to talk and discuss, and it doesn’t seem like he’s interested in the input from people who are actually there.  Since the White House delayed a planned trip General McChrystal was going to make to meet with President Obama face-to-face.  Since President Obama doesn’t seem to talk with his commander in Afghanistan that often, I wonder who he talks to?  It seems like he’s more interested in what his civilian advisors have to say than his military ones.

Is he listening to Vice President Biden who would like to withdraw troops and continue airstrikes against Al Qaeda?  McChrystal said in London that wasn’t a feasible plan.

“A strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short-sighted strategy.”

It’s a war of necessity, remember?  He’s had months to make a decision on this.  Who is he listening to when he’s considering making the decision to back off the Taliban and looks to engage with them.  Forget that the Taliban harbored Al Qaeda before and refused to give Osama Bin Laden up.  Forget that they turn suicide bombers loose in Kabul.  Is ignoring them really a winning strategy?  In what war have we ever been able to ignore the allies of our enemies?  While Obama looks to appease, the Taliban kill, well I guess since our President is now a Nobel Laureate we should expect no less.  Perhaps all military options are off the table now.

It’s time for him to start acting like the Commander-in-Chief, and listen to his military advisors.  What was the last war won by a President who didn’t listen to and follow the advice given by his military commanders?

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Comments

  1. Don says

    As an avowed Pacifist I have mixed emotions on this war. No country has ever won here and it is doubtful the U.S. is going to be the exception. What would a win accomplish? How would it be determined that we won? Is the obliteration of American economically worth securing a “win?”
    I don’t understand why the Commander-in-Chief isn’t allowed to make any decisions on his own. McChrystal was obviously being insubordinate when he made his speech. Its no secret that he made it because his Commander disagreed with him. It was an effort to get public opinion on his side to force Obama to go that route. If I were Obama I would have fired him on the spot! So, I think Obama is being very gracious with him.
    I believe that anyone that thinks a “surge” in Afghanistan would be as effective as the one in Iraq isn’t really looking at the logistics of Afghanistan.
    It is very comforting to KNOW that God is in control and whatever happens is part of HIS overall plan. So, Obama will make the right decision.

    • says

      @Don, Hi Don, if you are an “avowed pacifist” why do you have mixed emotions? Shouldn’t you clearly be against it? Just curious.

      Our approach in Afghanistan has been entirely different than that of the Soviet Union. Our motives for being there was different, and our training is vastly superior. We also have a completely different mission than what the Soviets had.

      A win in this case would be a secure, stable Afghanistan, Al Qaeda diminished or gone from the area, and a safe haven for terrorism in that part of the world from they could launch attacks gone. That’s the end goal.

      Ultimately any decision made is the Commander-in-Chief’s to make, but as the Bible says there are wisdom in many counselors – why would you want him to make military decisions without listening to his military advisers?

      How was McChrystal insubordinate? Did the Obama administration tell him not to make speeches? He stated his opinion when asked a question and wasn’t disrespectful. He disagreed with the Vice President who, by the way, is not part of the chain of command structure. Now if he were told not to make speeches or talk to the press I’d agree with you, but that wasn’t the case.

      What is a shame is that the President had only spoken to him once in 70 days, and then when he saw him in Copenhagen spent 25 minutes with him. How much time did he spend on the Olympic bid… oh yeah, more than 25 minutes.

      No one is saying that a “surge” would be exactly the same as Iraq. I didn’t realize Don that you knew more about the logistics there than the Generals who are there asking for more troops.

      I believe in God’s sovereignty, but your logic is flawed. Think about what you are saying.

      Take, for instance, a single woman who becomes pregnant and chooses to have an abortion. God isn’t any less in control. Would that be part of his overall plan and therefore, the right decision?

      Looking through the Bible we can see numerous leaders make horrible decisions. God works in the midst of that, but it doesn’t make their decisions “right.”

    • says

      @Kansas Bob, That was what his commander General David Petraeus was recommending. My point is that decisions made in military theaters based on politics are rarely good decisions – history is loaded with examples. I guess my position is that he should listen to the ones who are there (not riding a desk at the Pentagon, sometimes those who wear uniforms in Washington are just as political) and give them what they need to accomplish the mission or get them out.

      • says

        @Kansas Bob, Containment? Then the mission would have changed, and would be a reversal of what President Obama has said. What “victory” would look like is a stable Afghanistan that would not be a safe haven for Al Qaeda, and to see Al Qaeda defeated, at least their command structure located in that part of the world, defeated.

      • says

        @Kansas Bob – containment sounds like a good change in strategy to me.. keep them engaged over there and off American soil.

        Of course we could majorly escalate.. if we do we should get the national draft back.. our troops and their families need relief.
        .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..The Plans of Our Heart =-.

      • says

        @Kansas Bob, I agree with you there that the families need relief. I think that drawing down in Iraq, now that it is stable is a good thing. I’m not in favor of a draft, having served I can tell you that soldiers perform much better when they volunteer.

      • says

        @Kansas Bob – I understand Shane.. my Iraqi vet son has a similar view of draftees like me.. gotta admit I didn’t like serving in the Army.. also gotta admit that I was really good at what I did.. probably better than most volunteers.

        Maybe a national tax, or even a 501c3 charity, that would be distributed directly to all non-officer enlisted troops to reward those who serve would be a way to get everyone in the game? Right now folks like us without family actively serving in the military are just punsters.

        I am really not for a new tax or a draft but think that a very very small percentage of Americans feel the sacrifices made by our troops and their families.

        How do you think the country can get everyone to get some skin in the game?
        .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..The Plans of Our Heart =-.

      • says

        @Kansas Bob, I am all for increasing incentives to get people to enlist, as well as, rewards for those who do serve. I don’t think a tax is the way to go, but I think if we would decrease spending in areas that aren’t constitutionally mandated we’d have the funds already to do that.

        I don’t think w/o compulsory service like what you see in Israel we will be able to get everybody involved. I wish I had a silver bullet answer.

  2. says

    No silver bullet.. just hard choices.. unfortunately it has been a long time since a president has made one that affected people like a national draft.

    Regarding wars I am convinced that most people will not have a strong opinion because they are unaffected. The reason healthcare is a big issue is because many perceive that new legislation will affect them.. until a connection is made to wars most will not hold tea parties in favor or against wars.
    .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..Afghanistan: More Questions than Answers =-.

    • says

      @Kansas Bob, You make an excellent point, which is why young people during the 60s came out in droves against the Vietnam War. There was something at stake.

      Unfortunately, if “having something at stake” always brings about a negative response I don’t think that is entirely healthy. While Vietnam can be hotly debated, I think we had good reason for going into Afghanistan. The Taliban could have avoided it by giving Al Qaeda up, but chose not to.

      • says

        @Shane Vander Hart – Surprised to hear you say you do not want more negative tea parties :)

        IMO we tend to elect based on what our representatives promise to do for us. If we have no skin in the game (like a draft) then we will tend to ignore things like military actions when we vote.

        I am for a strategy of containment in Afghanistan.. it will give our troops a bit more rest.. until Iran boils over anyway.
        .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..Afghanistan: More Questions than Answers =-.