Monday, November 30, 2009

Who is Weak and Indecisive?

Osama bin Laden was "within the grasp" of US forces in late 2001 but escaped because then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected calls for reinforcements, a US Senate report says.

Yet many of these same right wing fuckers call President Obama weak and indecisive. All of the primary players in the previous administration should be lined up against a wall and shot for what they did to our country.


csm said...

OK. My comment in this post is hyperbole and I don't want anyone reading this to think I am actually serious. I don't want anyone actually lined up and shot.

G said...

Yes, he is indecisive on the matter.

During the campaign, Obama was quite clear that Afghanistan is the important war in the fight against terrorism. He was inaugurated in January. I suppose one could make an argument that he was actively involved in the war effort at first with his announced new strategy (in March) and installation of his own choice as field commander (although I don't personally believe that's the case). But his commander made his recommendations for a troop increase in August, which included heavy consequences that would result from a failure to act. It has been THREE MONTHS since then, with no decision.

If he did not have enough info to make his decision back in August (7 months into his administration) then he must be surrounded by imbeciles. If he had the info and recommendations, then he needs to make a decision quickly. We aren't talking about deciding whether to ENTER a conflict. American soldiers are already there, fighting and dying.

I suppose that it is possible that this isn't an inability to make a decision. Being a politician, it might be that Obama is trying to handle the issue like any other political decision: determine your chosen course of action, do some polling to see if it would be a popular decision, spend some time "selling" the plan to congress and to the American people in order to build more of a "consensus", and then act. If THAT is what's going on, then it's far worse than being indecisive. It would be a matter of taking the time to cover his own political rear end at the expense of the troops who are in harm's way.

G said...

By the way, my view is that this Senate report basically says two things:
1) It's the Bush administration's fault that we're even in this position.
2) The Bush administration was stupid to not send more troops.

Is anyone naive enough to think that the timing of this report (just days before Obama's announcement of a troop increase) is a coincidence?

Let's see... a decision he doesn't want to make (it's Bush's fault) that will really bother his supporters on the far left (not doing it would be a disaster). Hmmmm. Is this report the political cover Obama has been waiting for?

Mike aka Dragonfly said...

CSM have you considered the pursuit of the political arena? I think you are wired in the fashion conducive to following such a dream. The Bush administration made numerous mistakes. That is undeniable. It is also true Clinton had a prime opportunity to take out the infamous UDL but also failed. Neither one of these previous POTUS realized the implications of their actions at the time.
All in all it brings us back to what is this administration doing? Why are the mistakes of others an excuse to allow the current POTUS to continue on a path of ineffectiveness and weakness? It is easier to blame the other guys, but when we become citizens again, we leave the world of politics it is more prudent to question our leaders with the mindset of demanding accountability. I certainly have no desire to relive Carter II but many respected Political and international policy analysts make some compelling arguments.


Like g and mike, I believe this report is cover for Obama to make his decision to send more troops. A pure political act as his base will not be happy with his decision. The high-wire act will be fun to watch, but the idea we will be sending more American soldiers into this fucking quagmire is the real downer. There is no national interest in our military staying in Afghanistan. After Tora Bora it should have been a covert operation.

As far as the report itself, I have confusion. Where was Rummy supposed to get his reinforcements. I suppose this was supposed to happen quickly, so I repeat, where were these reinforcements supposed to come from. The Afghanistan operation in the beginning wasn't even using the US military to any great deal. There were no troops nearby to use as reinforcements. We had some Special Ops there, but the main fighters were the Taliban's mortal enemies, the Northern Alliance. I'll bet the Alliance loves the idea Kerry thinks of them as untrained Afghan militia. The only untrained Afghan militia in Afghanistan is Afghanistan's children(but give them a chance) as this country has been fighting each other and others for centuries.

In most foreign policy arenas the President has little choice but to not fight inertia, most decisions are made for him by circumstances. To me this is one decision Obama can make, to get the hell out now, and this would even make his base happy.

I read a great article published in The Nation by Aram Roston called, "How the US Funds the Taliban". The title tells it all. With all the people we have to pay off just to get basic supplies to our troops, the fact that the Taliban is estimated to get 10% to 20% of the take is inexcusable. How is this supposed to make our troops feel? With all the time we have spent in Afghanistan we have to have cultivated made many intelligence sources(many aren't very thrilled with the Taliban either)it behooves us to get the military out, the spooks and Special Ops in and let the chips fall where they may.

csm said...

I think Bush wanted Bin Laden around instead of dead or in custody.,, made it much easier for them to do their nasty deeds.

And I'm very disappointed in Obama for sending more troops to Afghanistan - into an unwinnable war.

True leadership is in short supply. We haven't had a true leader as president since JFK.

G said...

I hope you were being facetious in that last comment about Bush. That's the kind of thing I expect to hear from the kook wing.

Reagan was a leader, too. You may not like the direction he took. But he was definitely a president who led the nation.

Mike aka Dragonfly said...

JFK was a good leader because he had the experience. Good leaders are made not necessarily born although breading helps. He is a little over rated as a president due to his infamous death and the whole Camelot thing he had going on. Too bad we couldn’t have seen him for a longer period of time.
Reagan was been the greatest leader since Teddy Roosevelt. Remember CSM, he was a member of the DNC before he fled to the GOP. He was a man who was respected, brought parties together and had the ear of the world when he spoke. He too had the experience one so greatly need to lead a nation the size of the US.
We should leave Afghanistan not because it is not winnable, but because Big O doesn’t have the fortitude to do what it takes to win. We don’t need another generation of Vietnam kids going through life scarred because their government wouldn’t back them. Tonight we will hear more about leaving rather than strategy for winning. A bad signal for our troops and a great sign for the enemy.
Bawdy I am not a general with years of military experience on leading wars. I trust what they ask for and the strategies they recommend. Lincoln was great at that since he had almost no military experience. Just another weakness with Big O.


We should get out of Afghanistan because it is not in our national interest to be there, fuck winning. If you think we should try to win this war, mike, what is our national interest? And don't tell me the same ol fucking line about a haven for terrorists. That sounds like a intelligence situation to me. You don't use a blunt intrument to do precision work. That is why drones have been the best weapon in taking out these shits.

This is not a job for the military; the military is only to protect our own shores. If that had been the case since WWII think of all the soldiers who would still be with us now. Politicians should fight political wars; the military defensive wars.

And if we had kept the military out of these quagmires, we would be more likely to have a President of a more Constitutional nature. Sure the President is Commander in Chief during wartime, but the main job of the President is to uphold the Constitution and to enforce the laws Congress enacts. Man, if we only could get those in the right order we would be on to something.


I got a question for everybody. Why are many commentators placing China as the saviours of captialism? Could it be because they are the kings of collectivism and central control? In other words a template for everybody else. At some point THAT house of cards has got to fall.

G said...

What commentators? I haven't seen any of that kind of talk.

My first guess as to the reason why is that they are ignorant. Is it the same morons that have been praising the Soviet Union, Castro's Cuba, et al, over the past century?



You have to remember I listen to NPR all day long, Monday thru Thursday. Great news organization, but slanted nonetheless.


And before you say anything; it is nothing but healthy to expose onesself to opposing viewpoints. It just pisses me off with some of the crap I hear.

And as slanted as NPR is, it is nothing compares to the intellectual vomit Fox News foists upon us. When I have witnessed it I could not believe it.

csm said...

I agree that JFK tends to be over-rated due to his assassination.

I do NOT hold Reagan is the same esteem as others around here seem to. I think he is a primary cause of many of the problems we currently are undergoing, especially the rancorous partisanship. He also is famous for saying that government isn't the solution, but the problem - and then went on to prove it. It is that misguided notion that has caused many to shrug aside government failures (as in "Oh, gov can't do anything right anyway") and to avoid solving problems that government can solve (as in, "I don't trust the gov to do anything that important!") I blame Reagan as the harbinger of this. He was NOT a strong leader. Frequently he appeared befuddled and disinterested in his own administration's policies and activities. It was under his "leadership" that Iran/Contra happened.

The man could communicate though, I'll give him that much.


The problems Reagan faced were very close to the problems we face now. People seem to forget the late 70's and the early 80's WAS the direst economic times we have seen since the Great Depression9even more than now, only you won't here that condsidering who is in power). We had double digit unemployment AND inflation(we don't have inflation yet, but just you wait. Gold is at $1200 an ounce). The reason for this was the Keynsian, let the government handle it with all the blood(money)-sucking programs the government could think of. Revisions of history abound, but though I didn't care for Reagan as much as others, he and Carl Volker rescued our economy from John Maynard Keynes, like it or not.


Hey, I just agreed with a Democrat. Jim McGovern(D-MA),"Why do we need 100,000 troops to find 100 Al Qaeda members?" Good fucking question.

If Obama only gets one term, much of it will be because of Afghanistan.

csm said...

I don't agree with the president's current plan in Afghanistan at all. When I look at it, it really looks like it is steeped in politics more than in national interest: the desire to look strong as a leader, all of the 9/11 "stuff" in his speech last night, and the exit in 2012 - just in time for the election. I hope I am being jaded in this assessment and I do wish for success in this mission. At least now it looks like there is a mission with a clear end/goal in mind.

Mike aka Dragonfly said...

But alas, I do believe GWB was giving his war speech again last night! The only difference Bush always seemed to be behind the war effort totally. Big O didn't sell me that he was really at all for this effort. O much like the rest of us was procrastinating hoping the problem would go away.

But this is what took 3 months?

csm said...

You seem to think you have the ability to read people's minds, Mike? You might be right, that the president was procrastinating hoping it would go away, but I think that is a wild assumption that is most likely wrong. Whatever you think of Obama, he is intelligent, and knows that the war he inherited is not going away. At least now there is a stated mission with objectives to accomplish there.

Mike aka Dragonfly said...

I take it that any observations on the Big O are somehow a knock personally against the POTUS personally? I have watched the Big O and observing politicians for years. Sure, he is intelligent but he is not a leader of men. It is not a knock, not everyone is a leader of men. DC is full of men who cannot lead. He is perfect for community organizing and I mean that in the sincerest form.
Consider, Big O wanted to revamp 1/6 of our economy back in August in 2 weeks but he needed over 3 months for last night? I understand ramming legislation through before Americans could find out is accepted political maneuvering. But regrettably for O, he was caught. The timing was simply a political exercise in order to look for a way to save face. Bush could learn from the O on that facet.
Did you not listen to the Big O last night? The mission hasn't changed at all. Same strategy Bush used in Iraq which O claimed failed. The speech was filled with some déjà Vu phrasing to say the least.

Dragonfly release!


Mike next time you release could you please point the other way. ;)

Seriously, maybe csm has a problem with the "Big O" thing.

Afghanistan is a much different place than Iraq and the surge in Iraq was actually a political move, as opposed to a military one; i.e. we ain't leaving until the job is done. This isn't going to work in Afghanistan; all they want is to be left alone. They'll accept the Taliban(and the Taliban will have the same problems as anyone else, you can control the cities, but the countryside is another matter)and just go about their business herding goats and raising poppies. You are correct though when mentioning Obama is just following Bush's lead, this shows up in the reupping on the Patriot Act provisions which were due to sundown this year, the power grab on corporate segments, Gitmo policies and the growing imperial power of his office. It is just more of the same, but what else is new.

csm said...

I don't have a problem with anyone calling the president anything they want... I'm all for free speech... however, I find a lot of the criticism of President Obama to be weak and addle-minded. I can understand issues with his policies and taking exception with his actions (or even inaction). But calling him a weak leader less than a year into his presidency with little to no evidence to back it up I find to be ridiculous. It smacks of repeating right wing talking points.


Actually many foreign leaders considered Obama to be weak, Putin and Medvedev of Russia, Sarkozy of France are examples. Angela Merkel may not consider Obama weak, but she can hardly stand him(and this is helping to puch Germany towards the Russians). I will say from what I have been reading though, this perception has started to change. I think the Russians are surprised that Obama has not backed down to their demands(staying out of their periphery, for example) and I fully thought he was going to. I think the question hasn't been fully answered; only time will tell.


Oh and speaking of Russia, have any of you guys heard about the rift in the Kremlin between the old guard FSB and the financial technocrats tied to the GRU? g, maybe?

Looks like Obama might be getting lucky, especially if Putin and Medvedev end up at odds.

G said...

I haven't read or heard anything specific about the goings-on in Moscow, but I haven't been paying much attention anyway.

I don't know how "lucky" it would be for Obama to have even greater instability in a nuclear adversary's government. In any case, there isn't much difference between higher government officials in the former Soviet states. That kind of tension nearly always comes from one (or both) wanting more power than he currently has. It's a lot like the heavyweight division in boxing: all the contenders constantly beating on each other, and totally corrupt at the core.


This is the gist of the rift. Putin, when he was President of Russia, set up his power structure with two Kremlin clans who he would play off one another to keep them in check, but still utilize them as they controlled different parts of the Russian hierarchy.

The first clan was controlled by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin who got his power from the "old guard" and the FSB(successor to the KGB). Russian energy giant Rosneft(mainly oil)is also part of his power portfolio.

The second clan was controlled by Medvedev's Deputy Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov whose power base was derived by the GRU(the military intelligence organization) and younger government technocrats. Gazprom is part of Surkov's power structure.

Now both of these guys can't stand each other and as I said before Putin would play them off each other. Each of these guys had their own chains of command, but Putin would rearrange those chains so enemies to one would be inserted into the other's chains of command. Basically, Putin was the chessmaster making all the moves to keep stability.

Once Putin had to step down from the Presidency, Surkov and Sechin put forth their own choices to replace Putin and of course Surkov's choice, Medvedev won.

Things were going swimmingly when oil prices were $147.00 a barrel and the coffers were full, but once the economic crisis hit it, hit Russia hard and the blame in much of Russia has landed in Sechin's lap as his clan is also made up of the oligarchs(the vast majority of the oligarchs were KGB). Most of the oligarchs are now being blamed for mismanaging their large companies and for gulping down large swaths of foreign investment debt to maintain their extravagant lifestyles, which has put the whole country behind the eight ball.

Surkov, Medvedev and the technocrats now have Putin's ear and he is starting to side with them. This platform is based on privatizing(can you believe it)these mismanaged firms, opening up the Russian economy to direct foreign investment(not loans, but partnerships, asset swaps and the like)as Putin and Medvedev realize Russia needs this investment and technological advances(Russia is toying with the idea of purchasing the advanced French designed helicpoter carrier Mistral, or one just like it.) From what I am reading, this scrubbing of the economy of bad actors has already started and is putting Medvedev in a very good light.

It is just speculation at this point, but there is some evidence that Medvedev has started to eclipse Putin and maybe Obama had some good intelligence(for once) when on his first visit to Russia he basically snubbed Putin for Medvedev.

What boggles my mind is why I haven't heard any of this in our mainstream media. I subscribe to Strategic Forecasting, a private intelligence company, who has Kremlin sources, which is where I get this. Don't be suprised though, if you do start hearing stories about how Russia is starting to let Western companies back into Russia.