Free Markets, Free People

Leadership And Afghanistan

Yes, I’m again addressing presidential leadership, or the lack thereof. While it appears that President Obama has finally decided he has to “step up” in the health care insurance reform debate, he’s seems to be AWOL in that department concerning Afghanistan. Abu Muqawama lays it out pretty succinctly:

I do not think it would surprise any reader of this blog, though, to note the speed with which the debate has shifted on the war in Afghanistan. What was, 12 months ago, “the good war” has now become, for paleoconservatives and progressives alike, a fool’s errand. And the Obama Administration has thus far shown little energy for defending a policy and strategic goals (.pdf) they themselves arrived at just five months ago. I thought that once the president had settled on a policy and strategic aims, the rest of the administration would then go about executing that policy. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, right? Yet the policy debate seems to continue within the White House, with the Office of the Vice President apparently pushing for a much more limited approach than what was articulated in March by the president himself and following a lengthy policy review. No wonder, then, the uniformed military is getting nervous about the administration’s support for their war. Either the White House has been too busy with health care, or they have failed to notice how quickly the debate has shifted under their feet (as with health care).

Of course the assumptions Abu makes in his paragraph above are only valid if there’s someone in charge and leading the effort. A decision was supposedly made in March, in terms of policy and goals, and the assumption was made it would be executed. But apparently that’s not the case. And, as in the case of health care insurance reform, the evident lack of leadership has caused there to be a noticeable shift in the debate and a tremendous drop in support for the war effort. Again, a major policy issue is left to twist in the wind for lack of a leader.

Abu Muqawama, obviously recognizing this problem, throws out a solution:

What needs to happen? Well, first off, I guess we should decide what we’re trying to do in Afghanistan. (Again, when we set about reviewing ISAF operations in June and July, we thought this question had already been resolved in March.) Once that question is settled, the administration needs to go about defending and explaining their policy. Until then, it’s understandable why everyone from voters in Peoria to Mullah Omar in Afghanistan (?) are confused as to what, exactly, U.S. policy is at the moment.

This is a very critical issue that needs to be resolved now. That means the Commander-in-Chief needs to act like one and do what is necessary to resolve this policy issue. He needs to make a decision, give guidance to the proper agencies which directs them in how he wants his decision implemented and, finally, take responsibility for the war.

As a certain someone is learning, governing and actually leading is much harder than standing off to the side and tossing bricks while regaling everyone with how much better you could do the job. Thus far, the job performance has been anything but impressive.



6 Responses to Leadership And Afghanistan

  • Yep. Leaders make the tough decisions and can provide their reasoning for doing so, knowing that both will be criticized. Trying to be all things to all people, or perhaps simply trying to cover your backside on every issue, leads to this kind of sloppy handling and lack of resolve. Which means that nearly every critical issue we will face over the next three years will be fumbled about until the very last moment and then rushed into place with excuses and finger-pointing.

    It would be great as a comedy. It’s appalling when it concerns the governing of a nation.

  • If you look closely, you can see a theme running through all of the machinations of The Clown™. Spending out of sight, a man unable to work the halls of Congress properly, a man unable to get the British to not release a mass murdering terrorist, a man unable to stop the runaway deficit and in fact add to it, a man who is now the third most unpopular President in his first year in office since the Second World War. What’s the theme?

    A man who ran for office with no executive experience whatsoever. Of course, no President is truly ready for the rigors of the Oval Office, but being a state leader or a man who served in the US House or the US Senate for a long period of time, or a man who has served his country in other ways certainly helps. Remember that just four years before he won the presidency, The Clown™ was a rather undistinguished state Senator. Plus, from 2005 until 2009, when he was “in” the US Senate, he spent about 200 days doing actual business. 200 days? This qualifies a man to be President at a time when we so dearly need a man with experience, running a state government, or being a US Senator with 10-20 years of service, or someone who ran a major corporation, or a military hero. The Clown™ is none of these. He was a lowly state Senator, and, in the US Senate, put his name on, I believe, three or four pieces of legislation.

    And, worse yet, he has surrounded himself with boobs (Emanuel), Communists (Van Jones, et al.), tax cheats (Geithner), and a cabinet full of cast-off nobodies.

    What kind of confidence does all of this inspire in people? None, nada, zip, zilch.

    So, to hear that along with fugging up domestic policy – the exploding deficit, the health care debacle, Crap & Trade, etc. – The Clown™ is also a joke when it comes to foreign policy. He will let Afghanistan explode and then blame it on Bush; he has already started down this road of shifting responsibility, and he will continue with that theme.

    This is what happens when you hire someone completely out of their element for an important position. I told a friend a few weeks ago that it was as if the “company” got tired with the former CEO and fired him, then looked around for a replacement as the “company” was going through horrific turmoil, and they selected some schmuck from the mail room. “The mail room?” people in the “company” would cry out. “What makes him qualified to be our “company’s” President and CEO?

    Nothing does, but the mail boy made nice speeches, and said he would do his best. That may work for a short time, but eventually experience is needed to make firm and correct judgments about the “company’s” future course. After seven months, the mail boy cannot handle it any more – and people should have seen it coming. Seven + months into his maladministration, The Clown™ is woefully out of tune with the majority of the American people, pushing an agenda none of them voted for (except for the extreme lefties who love it), and destroying the very thing they elected him to save: the country.

    I predicted that The Clown’s™ job approval rating by Thanksgiving would be below 50%. I was wrong – that happened three months earlier than even I believed. So, I make another prediction right now: by Thanksgiving, The Clown’s™ JARs will be at 43%.

    And by about January/February/March, they will hit 40%. And, then, The Clown™ will be on his way to be a one-termer like Jimmy Carter.

  • Awaiting the brilliant retort of Scott Erb . . .

    • He’s busy holding forth on why the lives of volunteer American Military Service personnel are actually worth less than random foreign civilians.

      It is possible he will stop by here to enlighten us once more on leadership, clearly a field he has much expertise in, but only if his busy schedule permits.

  • I suspect there is a real debate about what to do concerning Afghanistan and Iraq. I hope they conclude that these long protracted wars of social engineering are pointless and counter productive, and Obama uses his leadership to bring us out of there. There is a difference between leadership and rash decision making. I think they are really spending some time dealing with making the right call on a very difficult policy issue.

    • a very difficult policy issue

      They’re idiots, the way they handled Honduras proves it.

      The only policy issue they’re spending time on is figuring out how far down the path to their socialist utopia they can drag us before there are marches with pitchforks and torches on the Capitol.