September 27th, 2009

Obama and Afghanistan: making plans, faking plans, breaking plans

A man, no plan, a war, Afghanistan.

That may not be a proper palindrome, but it describes the relation between President Obama and the Afghan War:

According to McClatchy, some members of McChrystal’s staff said they don’t understand why Obama called Afghanistan a “war of necessity” but still hasn’t given them the resources they need to do what is necessary.

Good question. We should all be asking the same thing.

Amir Taheri devotes a NY Post column to it, in a piece entitled: “Obama’s plan? What plan?”

The subtitle of Taneri’s column is “Despite his claims, the president has no Afghan strategy.” Taheri goes on to say that Obama repeatedly promised during his campaign that:

…he’d unveil a new “stronger, smarter and comprehensive [Afghan war] strategy.”

In March, in one of those solemn-looking occasions in which he excels, Obama said that the new strategy, which he did not elaborate, was already in place. He speeded up the troop buildup ordered by the Bush administration, and a few weeks later named a new commander for Afghanistan.

That commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, lost no time in revealing that the Obama administration had no specific strategy and that his first task was to work one out. By the end of August, he’d drafted a “new strategy” and submitted it to the Pentagon in the form of a 66-page report that included specific steps for moving ahead, as well as a request for still more troops.

Then, nothing happened — until someone leaked the report.

One can only imagine the general’s surprise when President Obama, asked to comment on the leaked report, said he wouldn’t allow himself to be rushed into sending more troops, as requested by McChrystal, pending the development of a “new strategy.”

One might say, Wait a minute! We thought you had a strategy before you were elected, when you castigated Bush’s performance in Afghanistan — or at least in March, when you announced “the new, smarter strategy,” or in June, when you appointed a commander to “carry out the new strategy.”

What of McChrystal’s proposed “new strategy” spelled out in his report? No, the president says he’s still looking for a strategy.

I submit that Obama has a strategy. It’s just not the one listeners might have thought he meant when he made all those declarations about winning the war—which even at the time they were made should have been seen as what they obviously were: so much campaign puffery.

What is this strategy? It’s one Obama uses for many issues, not just Afghanistan. It goes something like this:

(1) say whatever you think will get you votes, even if you don’t mean it
(2) do something opposite when the original stance becomes politically inexpedient and/or unecessary
(3) don’t acknowledge the contradiction or even attempt to explain it
(4) if somehow you are forced to break rule three and acknowledge your reversal, blame it on someone else—preferably George Bush, Republicans in general, and/or those crazy Tea Party attendees.

[ADDENDUM: The wrongness and inconsistency in Obama’s Afghan policy was all quite clear back in July of 2008, when I wrote this post.

And don’t forget that Obama could not have been more incorrect about the surge, not only at the very beginning but repeatedly, even after it had clearly succeeded. How could anyone—even a liberal Democrat—have faith in his judgment on military matters?]

33 Responses to “Obama and Afghanistan: making plans, faking plans, breaking plans”

  1. colagirl Says:

    I’d say that’s about accurate, neoneo.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    From now on, when I hear him speak on Afghanistan, I shall scream out,

    “Nat si nah gfa raw a nalp a nama!”

  3. vanderleun Says:

    And rhyme it with OBAMA!

  4. Perfected democrat Says:

    Obama is obviously shuckin’ and jivin’; everything he (with his Democratic Party gang) has been doing has been geared toward enabling the jihadi/radical left enemy to gain ground; from the border of Mexico, to his complete betrayal of Israel (especially now with the latest “Quartet” policy), to Honduras, to astronomical deficit spending, to environmental plans which have catastrophic potential for the American economy. I realize I’m getting repetitive here in my comments to these posts, but it is apparent that Obungler and his friends are engaged in a deliberate campaign of sabatoge against the traditional interests and allies of America. This is a white-collar crime variety of classic jihadi-leftist revolutionary subterfuge. When the debts come due on those trillians, and the inevitable inflation hits the poor and lower-middle class, who will likely be reeling from the higher unemployment which is common to socialist societies, we may see violence that will make the Detroit and L.A. riots of past years pale by comparison; though it will likely take a decade to materialize, long after Obungler is gone. The fact that much of this has been legitimized by a large portion of the public (a now radical left-wing Democratic Party and intellectually shallow and uninformed constituancy), doesn’t change the reality, or the probable consequences to come…

  5. Perfected democrat Says:

    How long is it going to take for the military to start screaming bloody murder, literally? Obungler has been undermining the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, directly and indirectly, for a long time; the so-called “insurgencies” have been feeding on and leveraging these partisan political games for, a long time. Real American servicemen have paid the ultimate price as a result …

  6. Perfected democrat Says:

    It’s a game called aiding and abetting; technically legal, but it is what it is…

  7. huxley Says:

    My man, Obama, he float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. He so smart, you don’ know or even wanna know. Bu’ when he come down, man, you’ll know, you’ll know.

    Obama …. he’s got it all mapped out like one of those grandmaster chess dudes except he’s like Spock on Star Trek, you know, 3-D.

    You gonna be so s’prised.

  8. RickZ Says:

    Obama: We mustn’t humiliate the Taliban or al Qaeda by being victorious over them!

    I want to see the re-up rates for the coming year. I feel for those serving under this Clown-in-Chief.

  9. expat Says:

    Somewhere between 3 and 4 I would place this: Dig some phrase out of previously uttered drive; preface it with “As I said before”; and pretend you’ve always held your new position–which of course isn’t really a position but more of a momentary mood.

  10. ConceptJunkie Says:

    What I can’t figure out is why anyone could possibly have thought this guy was suited for anything other than a low-level bureaucrat job. I mean, let’s forget his obvious radical leftism for a moment. Nothing he’s ever said makes any sense… not that he ever actually says much of anything. He’s never done anything, accomplished anything, or written anything (aside from two ghost-written autobiographies). He is a complete cipher. The cognitive dissonance necessary to think Obama could possibly be anything other than an abject failure makes me afraid for this country. We truly have lost our common sense as a people.

  11. waltj Says:

    Military matters? I don’t trust his judgment in picking a family pet. In the end, it makes no difference if he’s a knave or a fool. The results are the same. And we, and our allies, end up paying the price.

  12. ELC Says:

    The answer, I think, to the conundrum of Obamese is to remember that he never means what he says the way he says it. Never. Whether that is because of calculation to dissemble, or because of incapacity to actually be straightforward, or because of either at different times, or occasionally because of both… it matters not. Assume that what he says is, in some large way or to some large degree or in some large part, simply false, and a great deal of one’s frustration will disappear.

    But how to interpret? I think the best approach is to assume that he says what he says to further (1) himself and/or (2) his doctrinaire Leftism. I’m not sure which controls if (1) and (2) happen to conflict.

    Sorry… I’m just rambling………..

  13. F Says:

    I had to laugh when I read that palindrome. Then I thought about what I was laughing at and I wanted to cry. Excellent analysis, Neo. And good comments throughout. Sadly, though, I don’t see impeachment on the horizon. So I’m going to work on Vanderleun’s comment:
    Nat si nah gfa raw a nalp a nama!


  14. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    During the campaign I opined that Obama would stay in Afghanistan until it was plain that it was going to be much harder than Iraq. Then he would figure out how to declare victory and withdraw.

    That plan is in the works as this is being written..

  15. rickl Says:

    Since Bush got us involved in Afghanistan in the first place, then anything bad that happens is his fault. Case closed.


  16. Perfected democrat Says:

    Check out VDH’s latest at Pajamas Media:

  17. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Obama’s strategy was to be president. Then everyone in the world would want to work with us and these problems would go away.

    That’s not just snark. What Obama believes about the power of Me Showing Up is darn close to that. When reality exposes that as a sham, he finds reality-bringers to blame.

  18. rafinlay Says:

    “How could anyone—even a liberal Democrat—have faith in his judgment on military matters?]”

    Because the liberal Democrat knew he was lying and agreed with what he believed was O’s real opinion, which matched his own, of course.

  19. Mark in Texas Says:

    Obama has spent his entire career voting “Present” on any difficult decision and it seems to have worked out pretty well for him. After all, he did get elected President partly by not having any wrong decisions held against him.

    You can see why he would think that he could continue to use that strategy, although I don’t think that it is going to work all that well in his current job.

  20. Perfected democrat Says:

    From Gateway Pundit:

    “The military general credited for capturing Saddam Hussein and killing the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq says he has only spoken to President Obama once since taking command of Afghanistan.

    “I’ve talked to the president, since I’ve been here, once on a VTC [video teleconferece],” General Stanley McChrystal told CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.

    “You’ve talked to him once in 70 days?” Mr. Martin followed up.

    “That is correct,” the general replied.”

  21. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    GREAT VDH essay! What a national treasure is Hanson.

    Afghanistan is already lost, in the 70 days since Gen. McChrystal has taken over command of the Afghanistan theater, Obama has spoken with McChrystal ONCE…

    That, says all that needs to be said of Obama’s intentions in Afghanistan. The Taliban will rule once again and in less than 2 years. In less than 4 yrs. Pakistan will be under de facto Taliban rule. Iran will have the bomb and Venezuela will be well on its way.

    Once Iran has the bomb, Iran will believe that it now controls the Straight of Hormuz and then, Iran will start to jack up world oil prices. If they do that, our choice will be another Great Depression or Nuclear War…

    It’s going to be a very bumpy ride.

  22. Artfldgr Says:

    Warsaw’s Defense Minister: Russian-Belarusian War Game near Polish Border “Clear Warning from the Kremlin,” “Clear Demonstration of Its Power”

    Moscow’s NATO Envoy Jabs Thumb at Zapad 2009 Drill, Warns: USA Must Recognize Russia’s “Sphere of Influence”

    Russia general says missile plan not shelved
    He may not relish the comparison but it is now becoming increasingly obvious that Mr Barack Obama is the most hostile American President for India since Richard Nixon. In the eight months he has been in office, Mr Obama has snubbed India more than once. He has sent repeated signals that New Delhi is not integral to his Asian security architecture. Partly as a result of his country’s economic crisis, he has bent over backwards to accommodate China.

    boy is he helping chinese communists and russian communists, and basically changing americans sides to communist.

    but thats ok… i ambeing unreasonable… go back to sleep, be reasonable, its just his style.

    and from here:
    We are following them and carrying out monitoring of Zapad 2009 exercises in Belarus. Russian and Belarusian military training on such a large scale near the Polish border is a clear warning from the Kremlin. Russia’s actions are ambiguous. On the one hand, Russian politicians are calling for open dialogue with Poland and, on the other hand, Russia organizes large-scale military exercises, which are a clear demonstration of its power.

    Created in China: Part I
    On Oct. 1st China’s Communist Party will celebrate 60 years in power with a gala parade, a show of military might, and a cast of 200,000. Among the Party’s proudest achievements is injecting capitalism back into China 30 years ago, and letting the ambition and drive of the Chinese people transform China’s economy into one of the world’s biggest. The Party also wants to transform China’s economy into one of the world’s most creative – to reclaim a mantle of creativity and innovation that China held for more than a thousand years, before being overtaken by the West.

    Today, we start a five-part series exploring the roots of China’s creative past, and what’s being done now, with what success, to relight that spark. The World’s Asia Correspondent Mary Kay Magistad reports from Beijing.

    EDITORIAL: It’s scaring the neighbors
    Beijing has been boasting that the nation’s newest nuclear missiles will be part of an arsenal of new weapons — 90 percent of which have never been paraded before.
    Fifty-two types of weapons — all developed and made in China — will be on display during the parade,

    all made with our new shared technology which was provided once they claimed th cold war was over. this is like listening to a sociopath say they are sorry, they now feel the others pain, and can they have their guns back.

    Furthermore, while Gao is not altogether wrong in saying that military ability does not necessarily equate military policy, history is rife with examples of military policy being driven by a state’s military capacity — in other words, weapons designs drive policy rather than the other way around.

    well, thats true of all others but western republics…

    Should domestic politics in Taiwan between now and 2012 threaten to derail moves toward that goal, and if the US continues to suffer from a weakened economy and a number of taxing military deployments, Beijing may have little compunction in using its growing arsenal to achieve its aims.

    and again… that same date 2012

    guys, we are going to ahve a big war by then. every msm place is playing 2012 disaster documentaries, end of the us… end of mayan calander (so eveyrone who thinks of it can be labeled tin hat). quotes…

    there is some form of screwed up convergence planned.

    [edited for length by neo-neocon]

  23. Artfldgr Says:

    and this kind of thing to kill the capitalism between women!!! what do you think feminism was for?

    A policewoman who was banned from looking after her colleague’s child has said the experience was so traumatic that she would not have any more children. Detective Constable Leanne Shepherd, 32, who has a two-year-old daughter Edie was ordered to end her childcare arrangement with her friend DC Lucy Jarrett who also has a toddler, Amy, aged three. The pair, who share a full-time job, had been looking after each other’s children for two-and-a-half years so both could work 10 hour days, twice a week.

    But following an anonymous complaint, Ofsted told the mothers their arrangement was illegal because they are not registered childminders. In a threatening letter, they said the policewomen could be prosecuted and would be put under surveillance to make sure they did not continue helping each other. An unannounced visit was made to her home in Milton Keynes and DC Jarrett’s home in Buckingham earlier this month.

    they demonised that the famkily, emboded in the patriarch, got all the goodies, while women got none.

    while the truth was that women got a lot, and their work was not taxed to benifit pelosi dodd, and others like franks… that is the socialists like marx wanted 100% employ to the state. and half the population wanted to lvie at home and have a family and not work as hard as men even if they did work.

    and so they are moving to 100% school time… to free mom up, we will just take away the kids… why should women have to have babies adn raise them?

    after that, why bother to allow sexual congregation? we have a world to repopulate with elites like nancy with her 5 kids… and not people who aer so gullible that they abandone a few billion years of darwinian development and self exterminate their lineages.

    it used to be that women could trade labor, now if you do the math, MOST of the money goes to the state, and the family cant afford to exist!!!!!!!

    Ofsted rules state that friends can not gain a ‘reward’ for looking after a child for more than two hours outside their home. Although no money ever changed hands, the fact both mothers were able to enjoy free childcare for their daughters was judged to be a reward.

    thats communism..

    we are going to have a violent turn…

    because they are going to have to unfreeze.. what they are doing now… move to a new position, with these games… and freeze in the new place, with a big war which removes those who could protest.

    [edited for length by neo-neocon]

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    A woman who makes 30k a year makes just enough to be taxed and have the remaining amount cover child expenses to anotehr woman…. and so that money is not corp to corp, and so gets taxed again!!!

    30k – 30-50% for the state..
    then whats remaining is taken 30-50% for state

    so 30k become 15k to pay the baby sitter
    and have pittance to help the family, pay for psych later, etc.

    baby sitter takes most of that 15k, and watched 5 kids. after the boss and others get cuts. and all pay taxes… you get a marginal wage.

    the system foments those who cheat as doing better. as cheating is the only way to move ahead.

    the slavery of women in the future has been sealed as they didnt like sharing freedom with their husbands.

  25. Occam's Beard Says:

    “the new, smarter strategy,”

    Am I the only whose blood pressure bumps northward on hearing liberals smugly characterize their proposals as “smart?” Particularly when reality proves beyond any shadow of doubt that they don’t have a clue what they’re doing? But, nothing daunted, they’ll make a new proposal, and characterize that one as “smart” as well.

    They also don’t give us much credit by assuming that we haven’t figured out what they’re doing: oppose whatever the loyal Americans are doing, propose something else as the “smart” strategy, confident that it is impossible to disprove the counterfactual case. “Bush should have focused on bin Laden and Afghanistan, not Iraq.” We know full well that had he done so, the Reds would be howling about how stupid he was to leave Saddam in power, because that’s where he should have focused.

    Their alternative tactic is to disparage what was actually done with the benefit of perfect hindsight: “Of course the Navy should have sailed from Pearl Harbor on December 6th. Any fool could see that.”)

    I’m not sure which one is more irritating. The only good thing now is that they have to make those real-world, and therefore necessarily imperfect, decisions, and to accept the consequences. Even voting “present” constitutes a decision – there’s no way to duck responsibility.

    They must be terrified by that thought.

  26. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    We are again back in the world where only the American elections, keys to the political and cultural power of Washington, have any real value for progressives. All events are real only insofar as they impact electoral chances. All other events are mere chess-pieces in that central game.

  27. soupcon Says:

    He’s the most passive aggressive person I have ever seen in public office.He makes sure to have no footprint on any decision he meanders around before taking a break for lunch,at which point he moves on to his next enthusiasm.

  28. Artfldgr Says:

    In Massachusetts, bureaucrats have relabeled babysitters as “educators,” and are attempting to bury them in state mandated paperwork.

    Written progress reports must be issued every three to six months that track the cognitive, social, emotional, language, motor and life skill developments of infants and preschoolers.
    Day-care providers must “assist” with toothbrushing after all meals, or for any children on site for four hours or more.
    Nannies must devise a “curriculum” that provides “evidence that programs provide specific, planned learning experiences” and that supports “school-readiness.”
    Requiring babysitters to file this paperwork, and pursuing legal action against any who fail to file it to a bureaucrat’s satisfaction will drive most of them out of business, thus creating a “DayCare” crisis which will require the formation of state-run DayCare centers, thus growing the bureaucracy, dimishing parental choice, and ultimately requiring tax increases to pay for a state service that previously was provided by private individuals.

    The silver lining might be that some parents may decide they are better off raising their own children at home instead of subcontracting the most important task in a human being’s life to complete strangers.

  29. anonymess Says:

    Vanderleun, good idea, but to be accurate, it should read:

    “Nat si nah gfa raw a nalp on nama!”

  30. Artfldgr Says:

    Big Government, Unions Go After Michigan Babysitters
    There is a reason Michigan is crumbling toward Third World economic status: the state has been run into the ground by the same sort of fanatically pro-union authoritarian liberals that now control the federal government. In the latest outrage, a woman could face jail time for volunteering to watch her neighbors’ kids, apparently because this is seen by the authorities as a threat to the unionization of babysitters.

    I only wish I were kidding:

    A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors’ children.
    Lisa Snyder of Middleville says her neighborhood school bus stop is right in front of her home. It arrives after her neighbors need to be at work, so she watches three of their children for 15-40 minutes until the bus comes.
    The Department of Human Services received a complaint that Snyder was operating an illegal child care home. DHS contacted Snyder and told her to get licensed, stop watching her neighbors’ kids, or face the consequences.
    “It’s ridiculous.” says Snyder. “We are friends helping friends!” She added that she accepts no money for babysitting. …
    A DHS spokesperson would not comment on the specifics of the case but says they have no choice but to comply with state law, which is designed to protect Michigan children.
    If the boot heel being ground into your face isn’t intended to save the polar bears, then it must be to protect the children.

  31. Occam's Beard Says:

    Liberal logic: “We’ve got to make abortion readily available! It’s for the children!”

  32. Artfldgr Says:

    Occam, i know that your being sarcastic.
    but how is this?

    “I have to march because my mother could not have an abortion!” — Maxine Waters, US House of Representatives, Democrat

    cant make this stuff up…

  33. Obama and Afghanistan: Making plans, Faking plans, Breaking plans | Says:

    […] And don’t forget that Obama could not have been more incorrect about the surge, not only at the very beginning but repeatedly, even after it had clearly succeeded. […]

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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