Theodore's World: 76 Days Since Request For More Troops, Obama STILL Stalling

« Sen Kerry: "Irresponsible" To Commit More Troops | Main | 'Illegal Alien' Costume Under Fire »

October 19, 2009

76 Days Since Request For More Troops, Obama STILL Stalling

U.S. Soldiers conduct a dismounted patrol across the Arghandad River to assist Afghanistan National Police with humanitarian relief operations in the Kashani village in the Zabul province of Afghanistan Oct. 9, 2009. The Soldiers are with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and deployed throughout southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

76 days since request for more troops, Obama accused of stalling


Afghanistan they would call it a shura, the traditional tribal way of listening to elders’ views before reaching a consensus. In Washington, where President Barack Obama has now held five war councils, they are starting to call it dithering.

With another council on the Afghan war scheduled for this week, US officials admit it could be November before a decision is finally taken on whether to agree to General Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops. One participant revealed that the protagonists have not yet discussed troop numbers.

Latest polls show a majority of Americans now disapprove of Obama’s handling of a war which may come to define his presidency. Many senior members of his own party are in open revolt.

Senator Robert Byrd, at 91 a Democratic institution, was so incensed that he dragged himself from his hospital bed last week to make a 13-minute speech. “Does it really take 100,000 troops to find Osama Bin Laden?” he wondered. “And how much will this cost? How much in terms of more dollars? How much in terms of American blood?”

Obama has kept his own views to himself, although he is thought to be leaning towards acceptance that more forces will have to be added to the 68,000 US troops already committed. But his professorial style of asking for position papers and hearing all views is leading to accusations of drift.

“It has been 76 days since General McChrystal submitted his review to the administration requesting additional forces, and the clock continues to tick,” complained Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the senior Republican on the House foreign affairs committee.
The slow pace, explained one adviser, is explained by the fact that each meeting focuses on a different part of the problem. “They are methodically going through all the information,” he said.
“The discussion itself is not unexpected,” said a Pentagon spokesman. “It’s not as if we were expecting a rubber stamp.”
The White House gives away little after each session, barely changing the adjectives used to describe them. The first was “rigorous and deliberate”, the second “comprehensive”, the next “robust” and the last “fairly comprehensive”.

Behind the scenes a number of big personalities are jostling for power. The man said to have the president’s ear is Robert Gates, the steely defence secretary who served the previous administration of George W Bush and who believes more troops are necessary.

Obama also respects the views of General James Jones, the national security adviser, for his on-the-ground experience of Afghanistan from 2003 to 2006, when he was Nato’s supreme allied commander for Europe. He is said to be wary of sending more men. “Afghanistan is a country that’s quite large and swallows up a lot of people,” he said recently.

The biggest tussle is between McChrystal and Vice-President Joe Biden, who argues against escalation. Biden, who wants more emphasis on Pakistan, pointed out in a paper entitled Counterterrorism Plus that the real threat is not the Taliban but Al-Qaeda, whose leaders have moved over the border.

Biden, 66, seen as the in-house pessimist, has adopted a subtle campaign to make his case, with aides letting slip to journalists the extent of his influence over his inexperienced commander-in-chief.

While McChrystal was slapped down for unwisely choosing a lecture in London to press his point, there has been no attempt by the White House to rein in Biden. Yet with Obama leaning towards sending more troops, the vice-president seems to be heading for defeat.

Although Biden prides himself on his foreign policy experience, a key factor in his selection, critics point out that his judgments have proved questionable in the past.

“When was the last time Biden was right about anything?” asked Thomas Ricks, a military writer affiliated with the Center for a New American Security, a think tank founded by Democrats.

Biden voted against the Gulf war of 1991, voted for the Iraq invasion of 2003, proposed partitioning Iraq into three sections in 2006, and in 2007 opposed the troop surge that was later credited with turning Iraq around.

Whether or not he succeeds in convincing Obama of his case, nobody can dispute that he has changed the nature of the debate. Biden reflects widespread scepticism among Democrats about investing more heavily in an eight-year war that the US and its allies seem to be losing.

Jim McGovern, a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, is pushing a bill that calls for an exit strategy. He argues that extra American troops will only antagonise the Afghans and help the Taliban win more recruits.

Wild Thing's comment..........

“When was the last time Biden was right about anything?” asked Thomas Ricks, a military writer affiliated with the Center for a New American Security, a think tank founded by Democrats.

Good one!

I say this makes Obama criminally culpable in the murders of American service members across this 76 day time span.

I'm no expert but I'll hazard a guess or two based on what I do know. Obama is attempting to triangulate; that is, to find a course of action that exposes him to the minimal risk of political damage, especially to his grandiose domestic programs, and at the same time exposes him to as little responsibility as possible for whatever events transpire in a war zone. IRegarding the welfare of the troops in all of this, it doesn't figure in at all except insofar as it reflects on Obama.

Posted by Wild Thing at October 19, 2009 06:50 AM


Gee, is he really that stupid that he can't make one little decision and stick with it? yes, I'd say that does make him culpable in the deaths of our children. Is he even governing or is he letting the Czars do everything so he can go golfing? He reminds me of Tyrone Willingham, a previous coach at Notre Dame, Stanford and Washington. He was great coming out of the gate, but then decided golfing was more important than doing his job properly. He got caught up in the hype and believing his crap didn't smell bad, so everything else suffered. Obamanation needs to realize golf now comes last, not first. First are the needs of this nation.

Posted by: Lynn at October 19, 2009 08:08 AM

Yeah, obama is testing the political winds. He is doing a Clinton.

If McCrystal says he needs xx troops, obama needs to give him that many. The only thing Joe the Gaffe Biden knows about combat is how to get deferrments from it.

Posted by: TomR at October 19, 2009 12:29 PM

I see numerous stories that refer to Obama as 'dithering'. I suppose it would be appropriate to label him the 'Ditherer-In-Chief', DIC for short.
He seems to be looking for a plausable deniability strategy for this. He does that with everything else.

Posted by: Jim at October 19, 2009 01:43 PM

It has become painfully obvious that in the halls of Karl Marx University that the Kenyan wasn't exposed to any common sense.

A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise. ; The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.; I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.; No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.; There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.; When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred.; The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it. ~ Niccolo Machiavelli (The Prince)

This setting Fascist doesn't believe that he as CIC has any obligation to honor the decisions of his predecessors or any commitments made to and by our troops, pull the troops, all of them, from every theater and let those who voted for this POS defend themselves, here and abroad!!!

Posted by: Jack at October 19, 2009 02:11 PM

I think it was the history channel last night. Pearl Harbor, the untold story. I've seen this one before. they interviewed Guys who were on those ships and at the NAVSTA Kanoehe, Joe Finn(?) the one on the .50 cal, who won the MOH. When you listen to these heroes and their determination to at least give an accounting of themselves, it is awesome just to listen to them. They are in their late 70's and 80's and their memory is as clear as if it had just happened.

Now fast forward 70 years and we have a pussy in charge of the Military and she can't decide what to do. At least with FDR, ..."We will win, So help us God".

Obama dishonors these brave men and everybody else who has served their country, in world war 2 and each successive War. To run around the world apologizing for our country is dishonest, traitorous, and despicable. Our Veterans and current Troops deserve better than this, AIC, Asshole in charge because he sure as hell aint no leader or commander.

Posted by: Mark at October 19, 2009 07:47 PM

Thank you everyone so much.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 20, 2009 12:37 AM