Free Markets, Free People

Irony – White House Chafing At Slow Pace Of Afghan Deployments

The president who decided to again change strategies in Afghanistan after announcing his “new” and “comprehensive” strategy soon after taking office and then dithered for months before making a decision on the “surge” is now concerned that the troops he’s committed aren’t magically going to be there and ready when he wants them there.

Remember the “let me be clear, this decision has delayed nothing” rhetoric”? Well, let me be clear – his inexperience apparently has left him with the false impression that troop deployments are an overnight thing. And now the usual finger pointing from the White House has begun.

As you might imagine, it really has nothing to do with the troops per se. They can be loaded up quite quickly and flown into Afghanistan. But, as the old saying goes, “amateurs discuss tactics, professionals discuss logistics”. And the amateurs in the White House apparently don’t understand the impact the addition of 30,000 more troops in theater have on an already strained logistics system:

Last month in Kabul, Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the deputy commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, did not back away from that schedule, but he told reporters of the difficulties he faced even in getting all the forces in by fall. He said that bad weather, limited capacity to send supplies by air and attacks on ground convoys carrying equipment for troops from Pakistan and other countries presented substantial hurdles.

“There’s a lot of risks in here, but we’re going to try to get them in as fast as we can,” he said at the time. “There’s a lot of things that have to line up perfectly.”

On a visit to Afghanistan last month, Admiral Mullen pressed military logisticians on how they would be able to meet the schedule. But even Admiral Mullen, who said he was “reasonably confident” that the logistics would work out, acknowledged the tall order before the military, saying, “I want a plan B because life doesn’t always work out.”

So why wasn’t the logistics system already prepared to take the surge? Well, until the decision was made, no one in the logistics channel knew there was actually going to be a surge, or how large it would be if there was one. Unlike the claim made by the president, every day he delayed that decision was another day the logistics piece remained unplanned and unresourced. And that’s on top of the problems that LTG Rodriguez has pointed out.

One thing you obviously don’t want to do is field soldiers you can’t support and sustain. The surest way to ensure you get your tail kicked is to watch tactical operations falter because of the beans and bullets piece can’t support the plan.

As usual, the military will try to make up for the amateur screwup and meet the unrealistic timetable. Whether or not they’re successful remains to be seen – but bear in mind that problem that the military faces in successfully meeting that goal of full deployment by this summer isn’t one of their making, but a product of delays in the decision making process at the highest level.



6 Responses to Irony – White House Chafing At Slow Pace Of Afghan Deployments

  • Why not just ask our NATO allies if we can borrow their air transport and logistics chain to support our troops?

  • Someone needs to show Obama a map of Afghanistan.  No seaports.  Their borders are not all that pro-American.  The terrain is awful and there is no developed road system and no railroad network.  Our logistics lines run through some rather unsafe areas of Pakistan.
    Obama thinks there are logistics plans for 40,000 troops, 39,999, 39,998…..3, 2 & 1.  They don’t.  Putting more troops in place ahead of logistics is simply pre-positioning POWs.

  • I read stuff like this and I ask: why is anyone surprised? Are you surprised? Am I surprised? I’m not, and people all over should not be either. I am not shocked or stunned or taken aback by the absol neglect, the incredible naïvete, the simple and congenital malfeasance that comes out of this maladministration.

    I know that this sounds terrible, but I would not be surprised at anything that happens with this cabal’s prints all over it. They have destroyed my ability to find good in anything anymore.

    I wasted my time and watched “Softball” on MSDNC, and Joan Walsh, the flaming loon from, said something to the effect of, “I cannot believe the good that this President is doing, the good job, the good works he is doing for the American people.” And this came AFTER the Christmas Underwear scare. It is when I hear people like that, who are simply out of touch with reality, that I truly believe that if we do not do everything in our power to resist this gang of thugs running the government, and march to the ballot box this November and as many times as necessary until they are gone completely, we will destroy this country. Destroy it.

  • This is a consequence of never having had a position of responsibility in his life before Jan 20 of last year: it simply doesn’t occur to Imeme that things are never as easy as they seem, and simply giving an order doesn’t always translate into results.

    — “I got the Congress to spend a lot of money on the stimulus plan.  What do you mean, the economy isn’t picking up???”

    — “I gave speech in Cairo about reaching out to the Muslim world.  What do you mean, they still hate us???”

    — “I told the IOC that they should hold the games in Chicago.  What do you mean, they want to hold them elsewhere???”

    Etc, etc.

  • This dude grew up in 1970’s Indonesia. He has actually visited Pakistan.
    He knows those countries have terrible roads and infrastructure.
    Maybe he forgot as he is used to using a helicopter to get to the golf course now.