Free Markets, Free People

Well, who knew?

Most of us, that’s who. And that’s why, as soon as it was uttered, President Obama came under criticism.  

I’m talking about his decision to announce the a troop withdrawal, in a speech he made at West Point some months ago, even while he was announcing a surge of troops (which, btw, is supposed to finally be complete this month).

Marine General James Conway talked about that announcement yesterday at a Pentagon press conference:

"In some ways we think right now it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance. We think that he may be saying to himself, in fact we’ve intercepted communications that say, ‘Hey, we only have to hold out for so long,’" Gen Conway told a Pentagon news conference.

"I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us," he said of Marines in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.

I’m sure the general will receive the obligatory counseling session and make some sort of retraction – after all, the only area in government where there is actual accountability seems to be the military.

But, as with most of what this administration has done which runs counter to common sense, this was entirely predictable.  When you announce something like a drawdown, your enemy adapts to the new announcement.  It also turns on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ironic, isn’t it, that of all the promised “hope and change” by this administration, the group benefiting the most is the Taliban.

As for staying on longer, Conway isn’t the first to say that will probably be the case.  Petraeus has also been saying the same thing.  Whether or not it is true – i.e. the administration bows to the reality on the ground and extends the timeline – it is obvious, for the reasons stated, that the generals want the enemy to think it is true.

Hell of a thing when you have to go behind your CiC cleaning up the mess he’s made, isn’t it?


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10 Responses to Well, who knew?

  • On the other thread…about the economy…we talk about how uncertainty raises risk.  Sometimes, depending on the loss potential, it raises it to infinity.
    We WANT our enemies to be VERY uncertain about our future plans.
    Strange, yes, that where we WANT uncertainty the Obami abjure it.  Where we DON”T WANT uncertainty, they spin it off like cotton candy at the state fair.

  • It is interesting to contrast Obama’s imbecilic announcement of a future planned withdrawal with Bush’s Iraq surge.   Before Bush announced the surge, the feeling everywhere was that he would need to withdraw from a particularly messy situation on the ground, and our enemies fully anticipated that he would announce a withdrawal.  When he instead announced a surge, all of the parties needed to readdress the calculus they were operating under; these recalculations had to account for the now apparently unpredictable US position.  This uncertainty had a more dramatic on the situation on the ground, moving things far more to our favor, than the actual number of troops in the surge.  It was a brilliant move.

    Obama on the other hand essentially gave the Taliban all of the strategic information that they really needed when he preannounced his post-surge withdrawal timetable.  This is far worse than the mistake of an inexperienced rookie; it is the move of a fool.  How any sane person could honestly belive that this man is intelligent is beyond me.

    • I also find it interesting that Obama’s attempt at “success” in A’stan seems to be cut from the Bush mold: a surge, General “Betrayus”, etc. But Obama must deviate, and when he does it is awful: announcing our retreat date well in advance.

  • “I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us,”

    I doubt that we have several years. And, depending on how bad the floods in Pakistan are, we may have very little time.

  • Iraq … biggest foreign policy disaster in history … Afghanistan … about to collapse … nothing can be done … Obama is brilliant … thinks like me … imperialism … military service drives men crazy … Afghans corrupt … negotiation is the key … be more like Europeans ….

    Ott Scerb is on vacation. Today’s commentary is supplied by the ERB-1 (Emotionless Robotic Bloviator, Version 1) posting robot. ERB-1 is a primitive version of the ERB-5 posting robot that comments under the name “Scott Erb”.

    For new readers, the ERB series is the product of a research project at the University of Maine to develop a program which can pass the Turing Test. The ERB series is intended for Entertainment Purposes Only. Please do not become upset, outraged, or incredulous when reading output from any of the ERB series.

    • Dear ERB-1 Programmer;
      Ever wishing to be helpful, I noted you’ve omitted the essential terms “tens-of-thousands of innocent victims”, “billions of wasted dollars”, “impossible to impose democracy”, along with “globalism” and (my personal favorite) “re-balance the economy”.  These should be added to your code.
      BTW, I think the term “doooo loop” does not mean what you think it means…

  • “[I]n fact we’ve intercepted communications that say, ‘Hey, we only have to hold out for so long,’” Gen Conway told a Pentagon news conference.

    I wonder what clever names the left will use for Gen Conway.  Maybe just emphasize the first syllable of his last name?  After all, any military officer who tells them what they don’t want to hear (i.e. the truth) MUST be a liar / traitor / teabagger.

  • Does Rolling Stone have a reporter embedded with General Conway?

  • You seem to approve wholeheartedly of the US military engagement in Afghanistan. That’s understandable, I too was in favor of it some years ago. However I think that if you made an effort to inform yourself, you would have qualms.
    The official story on Afghanistan is that we intervened to collar Bin Laden and emancipate females and bring democracy.
    But in fact those were largely pretexts. I refer you to a book by a right-winger, a journalist for NewsMax whose name I forget, who wrote a book called “Crude Politics”. The book unmasks the Bush régime’s intervention in Afghanistan as a cold-blooded geopolitical ploy intended to assure free flow of Caspian Sea oil to the West.
    Afghanistan’s first election was a moving affair. Afghans were so idealistic about democracy. But the US imposed a corrupt dictator – Karzai – on the Afghan people. Karzai’s relatives are now entrenched in every provincial administration. Karzai’s main claim to fame was that he had worked for Exxon or some other oil multi.
    Whether you favor or oppose it,  you have no excuse for not really finding out the facts, instead of swallowing government propaganda hook, line and sinker.