Thursday, November 12, 2009

Obama finally ‘taking control’ on Afghanistan?

First we see this: President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Then this: In the wake of an AP report on Wednesday that President Barack Obama is not satisfied with any of the options on Afghanistan he has received from his national security team and is demanding revisions, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow turned to veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh for insight.

"It could be huge," Hersh told Maddow, "simply that the president's finally saying, 'I'm taking control.'"

"The one thing that mystified a lot of people," Hersh explained, "was the decision to let General McChrystal write a report. There's no general in history that will come back, given that assignment, and say 'We can't win.'"

"This is basically a war, at best, that's going to be a stalemate," continued Hersh. "And so Obama is just putting his foot down, and that's great. ... He's grabbing it and he hasn't been grabbing it until now."

Hersh also commented on a New York Times story which revealed that the US Ambassador to Afghanistan, former Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, had cabled Washington last week to express "his reservations about deploying additional troops to the country," thereby putting himself "in stark opposition to the current American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who has asked for 40,000 more troops."

Hersh described Eikenberry's cable as "big news," especially because Eikenberry has been one of a group of generals -- which also includes McChrystal, Petraeus, and Odierno -- who graduated from West Point around 1973-75 and have stuck together over the years as what is seen by other military leaders as a "West Point Mafia."

According to Hersh, this has caused "a lot of trauma within the Army, which is very resentful. ... The top of the Army ... they've been very unhappy with the McChrystal appointment and the way things have been going."

That is why Hersh sees it as significant that Eikenberry is now steering an independent course. "This summer inside the embassy," he told Maddow, "there was a lot of concerns about the stability -- literally the mental stability -- of Karzai. And I think Eikenberry probably knows more than most people."

"Eikenberry is simply, I think, reflecting a huge split," Hersh concluded, "because he's now splitting from the McChrystal counter-insurgency wing that's been dominated by Petraeus."

Hersh called his conclusion about Eikenberry a "heuristic guess," but it is supported by one online analysis which tracks Eikenberry's statements since 2007 and suggests that "General McChrystal is on a special mission based a specific philosophy of warfare and that General Eikenberry is performing his duty according to his current assignment with an ongoing evaluation of the various players and facts at hand."

"General Eikenberry is both a soldier and scholar of history and political science," this analysis concludes. "He knows the history of occupations that fail to deliver for the populace and he's telling us right now that the U.S. can't succeed with more military forces in a nation run by an illegitimate president who has been exposed for election fraud. More troops are not the solution."

It will be interesting to see what comes next...



The important thing to do now is to tell the citizenry the wars we have been fighting these last years are not, and never have been, in our national interest. There will be blow back from corners of our population which will state(and not incorrectly)that our servicemen and women have died in vain. It is true, they have died in vain, but Obama needs to have the balls to tell us this. Once politicians have to answer for putting our military in these kinds of political situations, and do it publically, they might think twice before deploying the military. It is too bad G.W. McSmugness will not be given this job and though unfair to him, Obama, as the current President, needs to put a stake in this and vow never to use the military as a prior restraint again.


I am also wondering how much of this reticence has to do with a testing of the political winds. I would have to think much of his constituency ain't real thrilled with having to defend their President if he were to "surge" more troops into the quagmire known as Afghanistan. Even though I would agree with the eventual outcome if he were to get our military out of Afghanistan, I still don't get the feeling from him that he would show much restraint in the future if his peeps were behind him(Sudan?).

verification word: santo(I take it you have no control of these, csm.:)).

csm said...

Nope, no control over them.

Your first comment is intriguing. I would hope that the president has the balls to do it, too. I don't know if he does, though.

Mike aka Dragonfly said...

Bawdy good to see you still hanging in there and giving them all the finger. CSM good to see you hanging in there cheering on anyone who hoist the banner with the big letter D etched clearly for the loyal followers of the new Big O.

Frankly I quite disappointed at my party would bow to the far left of the party and put up a guy no more qualified to run the local Zippy Mart in Akron than to run a nation. But in the end it will be good cleansing that the party needs on a regular basis to remind the radical element that in the end they work for the people not their own ideology. Republicans just finished learning that same lesson.

The new Big O is in way over his head. The hard line national leaders around the world lick their collective chops to see us with a weak leader and the financial geniuses on Wall Street lick their chops at the prospect of more collective lottery winnings. Somebody somewhere is licking their chops at forced healthcare on the masses palms of China continue to itch at the prospect of owning more of the American dream.
The saddest prospect of all remains in Afghanistan where the new Big O continues to run the four corners while men and women face death on a daily basis. Indecision is the hallmark of a man way in over his head. If only my party has listened to Hillary, Bill, McCain and Romney.

Well chin up. 10’ will bring big changes and no doubt the big swing that comes in Nov to congress might knock the ball from the new Big Os hand.

Dragonfly Away!

csm said...

Interesting take on things, Mike. I don't see Obama as weak at all and I think the country has not swung anywhere near far enough to the left - it needs to keep on seinging left. The pussy Dems keep bowing to the Reps instead of just pushing through a liberal agenda. We all know that the Reps would just shove their right wing agenda through if the roles were reversed - hell, they were for a good number of years and that is just what they did. So, although I do not like their policies (or, at least I haven't in the past, can't tell what they are now other than anything Obama says we are against) I admire the Reps ability to push through their policies.

Mike aka Dragonfly said...

CSM you may not perceive him as weak leader but that is really irrelevant . Do our foreign leaders perceive him as weak and the answer is a resounding yes. It is great that he has this desire to mend fences with the perceived anti-American alliances but he is naïve to believe in believing this soft image approach will make friends. It will not, but it will make him the world’s fool.
His “shake and bow” (sounds like the latest rap album) was perceived in Japan to make Japan look weak and to make America look weak. He is just so ill prepared to be overseas.
So you believe our party should act just as the Republican Party has acted in the past? Then where is the change America can believe in? I dunno, sounds a little petty and rings with a sense of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Revenge is a dangerous motivation.

What No Bev and no FCC?

csm said...

Bev long ago abandoned us (and voted for McCain - yikes!)... and fcc is not here in moniker, but he is here in spirit with Lou (could actually be fcc, I dunno).

If Obama is actually perceived as weak overseas that would be problematic. I don't have the inside scoop that you do to the mind of the Japanese (or, indeed, to the mind of world leaders). I doubt you are correct, and I remain unconvinced until I see proof.

And revenge is not my motive at all. I am a liberal and I would like to see some god-damn liberal policies enacted without all the pussyfooting around. I think Joe Biden nailed the reason tonight on The Daily Show. He said that the Republicans are almost all conservative with no liberal and almost no moderates, whereas the Democrats in Congress are liberal, moderate, and even some conservatives (as well as a socialist who caucuses with them). So getting all those different mindsets to coalesce is much more difficult than getting a group of like-minded conservatives to coalesce on policy.


Actually I think the problem both parties have is the independent voters not caring for either of them. There is an article on Yahoo News right now on just this story. When the two parties finally figure out the majority of citizens are fiscally conservative and socially liberal(classically liberal as in libertarian with a small l)they just might get somewhere. Right now they are playing to both of their bases leaving the independents to figure out who is the lesser of two evils. If only this faction could just organize into an alternative...

verification word: ingod(I am not kidding and you should look into this, csm :))

csm said...

LOL... Thanks for the heads up, Bawdy... maybe the next verification words were wedonottrust?

And I do agree with you that most folks are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

Dragonfly said...

The Le Monde and the Wall Street Journal both reported Sarkozy of all people seeing the new Big O as a weak leader. Weak is all just perception but if Sarkozy sees it you know Putin and others do as well.

What exactly do you desire when you call for liberal policies? I am a believer in big government to an extent. I see it as foolish that some believe we could maintain the Jeffersonian style of government 200 years since the inception. Liberal socialism is what we have coming on the horizon which is just another term for European socialism. It does not work and will kill our nation- especially a nation the size of the US. I can’t imagine buying up stock, borrowing into a record deficit were the liberal policies you sought.

Uncle Joe attempted to make a case there was no such thing as a moderate Republican? Someone should have told conservatives because they abandoned their party last year in record numbers. I think McCain, Snow, Collins and Cao among some others would disagree with Joe. Then again Joes has been in decline in the last few years. Strangely having a party united around a common idea use to be a positive. I never saw infighting as an attribute to be trumpeted.


I see it as foolish we ever stopped using Jefferson(and the Constitution)as a template for our future. How does individual freedom ever go out of style is beyond me.

csm said...

You kinda make my point, Mike. Which seemed to be a point you disagreed with earlier. I said earlier, and I will reiterate here, that I admire the Reps ability to push through their agenda.

Do I want record deficits? No. Do I blame President Obama for them. Fuck no, you'd have to be a complete shit-for-brains to do that. Not only did the bailouts start under GWB, but the reason for "needing" it was well under way long before Obama came on the national scene. IMHO if yo uare too big to fail then you are too big to exist - break up these monolithic companies (e.g. super banks) and bring back the regulation of the 70s and earlier.

What type of liberal policies would I like to see? Well, it is NOT the Liberal Agenda as defined on Wikiality that many on the right believe (yes, I know that Wikiality is a Stephen Colbert joke).

How about single payer national health care - let's treat basic health care as a right, not something to be rationed out based on ability to pay. Let's see, bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and stop paying for needless fucking wars and we can more than pay for national health care without raising taxes. But no, the radical right would rather pay to kill people than to cure them.

What else? How about a national energy program to promote technologies for new energy alternatives? How about programs to encourage a decrease in carbon emissions? And let's tie these initiatives to actual programs that create jobs in these fields as we research, develop, and proliferate new energy.