Free Markets, Free People

Afghan “Straw man”?

President Obama claims to be dispensing with “straw men” arguments concerning A’stan:

President Obama told Congressional leaders on Tuesday that he would not substantially reduce American forces in Afghanistan or shift the mission to just hunting terrorists there, but he indicated that he remained undecided about the major troop buildup proposed by his commanding general.

Meeting with leaders from both parties at the White House, Mr. Obama seemed to be searching for some sort of middle ground, saying he wanted to “dispense with the straw man argument that this is about either doubling down or leaving Afghanistan,” as White House officials later described his remarks.

The problem is, that leaves some version of the status quo as a viable alternative, and, as every expert to include the Commanding General there has told us, the status quo isn’t working.

This is what I was talking about when I said he’s just as likely to dither for months making a decision and then make a decision in which he appears to be doing something while not even getting anywhere near to fully resourcing McChrystal’s request. Or said another way, he’ll send more troops, but only enough troops to keep A’stan from getting worse than it is now, but not enough to do the mission McChrystal has outlined.

That’s what he appears to be setting up here. Reading between the line, the implication is that he’s not going to give McChrystal all he wants and he’s building the case by attempting to introduce something less than what most see as the only two viable courses of action – fish or cut bait. All in or fold.

This is what I’ve been afraid of since his election. There’s little will, on his part or that of his party, to do what is necessary in Afghanistan. All the rhetoric about it being the “necessary war” was just that – rhetoric to beat his opponent and their party over the head with.

If that’s the case – then get our troops the hell out of there and deal with the long-term effects of doing that. The effects will be profound. But reinforcing failure, and that’s what I’m hearing here, is just not an option.

Calling the narrowing the choices to the two most viable options “straw man arguments” doesn’t make it so. Certainly Obama has the final say – but the only viable choices remain the only viable choices whether he likes that or not. Doing anything in between is a recipe for continuing failure and will be seen as trading blood for time – political time – because he doesn’t want to make the hard decisions required due to the political implications (I’ve been saying he’ll delay any profound decision, like pulling out, until his reelection is safely in the bag).

The one thing that’s different about the job of President is that when it comes to foreign affairs and the job of Commander in Chief, the people expect the President to put aside all political considerations except what is best for the US.  His job is to act in the best interest of the country. We haven’t seen that yet in President Obama’s foreign policy and, unfortunately, I hold little hope as I watch the Afghanistan discussion unfold that politics will be divorced from the upcoming decision on our strategy there.



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10 Responses to Afghan “Straw man”?

  • Hey – he’s the Commander in Chief, it’s his choice.


  • Is Obama voting “Present” again?

  • Obama votes for his own VietNam

  • I think that Obama’s downside potential is unlimited.

    I think he’s badly educated, lacking in judgment, has very limited character, no more than residual conscience, that he’s comfortable with his hypocrisy, is a stranger to truth, and doesn’t have any real interest in the success of the United States.

    So, when it comes to Afghanistan it is truly going to be a case of “those who do not expect are never disappointed.”

    Brace yourselves. The people who desperately wanted defeat in Iraq for their advantage are now in charge. They have never said a thing they meant and will never tell the truth, even if they were capable of it.

    But I want to keep this upbeat, so I’ll stop there.

  • I think that “dispense with the straw man” is his way of asking people to drop the issue, because he wants to give his strategy of “wishing it away” a chance to work.

  • Damn, at least he is not adding troops

  • The lion’s share of the debate has focused on the Taliban and al Qaeda as military threats while ignoring or not understanding the political component. Specifically, Islamic domination is the driving force behind the enemy’s goal with critical financial support from the Saudis who advocate for the spread of their Wahhabist religious doctrine.

    Without recognizing the true nature of the threat, any strategy will be flawed. Being PC and glossing over the religious, as well as political, component will produce a plan that does not end in success.

    Contrary to Obama’s stated commitments, he is looking for a way to ‘bug out’.