Monday, November 2, 2009

The World's Longest Dither seeks a 'Compromise' war plan

Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard Blog gives us an update on the world's longest dither as President Obama and his "military experts" continue "developing a new strategy" for the war in Aghanistan. Meanwhile, Gen. McChrystal and the troops continue the fight short-handed.

The McChrystal review was done by August 1st. It is now the end of October.

According to today's Washington Post ("Obama seeking options on forces; President looks to send fewer additional troops"), we'll get a decision by the end of November. That's four months. And it's evident that the review at this point is being driven entirely by White House political concerns. 148 American soldiers have died while the president holds seminars.

It's really outrageous.

There are, though, comical aspects to the Post story.

One is that Army chief of staff George Casey, a stubborn opponent of the Iraq surge at the end of 2006, is using this excuse to oppose an Afghanistan surge: "The Army is particularly concerned that soldiers who spend less than 18 months at home between combat tours do not have enough time to train for high-intensity tank warfare."

Just where are we going to fight that kind of war in the very near future?

Another is this: "But opinion among members of Obama's national security team is divided, and he now appears to be seeking a compromise solution that would satisfy both his military and civilian advisers."

Huh? Who are those "civilian advisers?" Secretary of Defense Gates is with Generals McChrystal and Petraeus, and (I gather) so too are Secretary of State Clinton and Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke -- all the "civilian advisers" who have real responsibility for the situation. But Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel have political concerns -- so Obama is trying to find a "compromise" that would "satisfy" them too.

Sometimes, in political and public policy, compromise is a good thing. But it's not a way to win a war. Especially when the "compromise" is between what your own military commander judges, based on an extensive review, he needs, and what your political hacks want.

You didn't think Obama was going to interrupt his golf game to make a decision, did you?

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