Monday, November 09, 2009

An American Soldier

I guess I have our troops on the brain tonight. Veterans Day week and the Fort Hood massacre. And still no word from the Commander-in-Chief about his decision for troops in Afghanistan. In fact, quite the contrary. Although the denial about the decision being made could just be smoke and mirrors, with ObamaTeam wanting to control the message until Obama returns from Asia or wherever he's going this week. CBS News is reporting that Obama will send something close to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, although they won't all be in the area until the end of 2010. This is already being called Obama's "slow surge."

Whether or not the decision about troops has been made, it's true to say that as we watch Obama struggle through his first year in office, it's clear that he has a hard time making hard decisions--probably because he doesn't have the background he needs for the job he's trying to do. Here's a troubling Obama quote: In an interview with ABC News today, Obama said his extensive and expansive strategy-review meetings have given him greater confidence in whatever his final decision will be. “I have gained confidence that there’s not an important question out there that has not been asked, and that we haven’t asked -- that we haven’t answered to the best of our abilities,” Obama said.

Then Champ, it's time to make the decision on the troop numbers. Instead, we hear that the decision certainly won't be announced before his 8-day Asia trip. I wonder what the excuse will be for putting it off when he gets back from there? The Christmas shopping season? Valentine's "datenight" Day?

Obama ought to talk to Colin Powell for advice.*** Powell will never be one of my favorites, but he does have some good things to say about leadership. Here's #15 in Powell's list of 18 Leadership Secrets:

Part I: Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired. Part II: “Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.

In other words, if Obama is looking to have 80 or 90 or 100 percent of the information he needs before he makes his decision, then he is going to be rightly accused of "dithering." If he has somewhere between 40 and 70 percent of the information he needs to make his decision, then he should pull the trigger. But the other thing is this: that "good gut" that Powell refers to requires a person to have some experience under their belt. Which is why it was such a terrible idea to elect a junior Senator as President of the United States.

Dear Mr. President Obama. What information do you have now that you didn't have in August? What information do you not have now that you expect to have in the weeks and months ahead? Please either send enough troops to Afghanistan to get the job done, or bring them all home. Please make a decision. You are no longer Law Professor Obama. You are our Commander-in-Chief. Quit dithering.

Update Tuesday morning: For the Love of God. Now CBS is backtracking on yesterday's report that Obama has made a decision about the troops. Presumably Rahm (The Ballerina) Emanuel sent them a dead fish. Or perhaps this was just a trial balloon? Someone ought to tell Obama that this is a war, not a political campaign. ABC News now reports that Obama is considering plans A, B, C, D, and E: Senior administration officials tell ABC News that President Obama at his war council meeting tomorrow will assess five different specific strategies for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the recommendations put forward by Gen. Stanley McChrystal being one of those five strategies.

How pathetic: 74 days and still waiting, Mr. President.

From Ed Morrissey this morning at HotAir: If Obama is just now getting around to hearing back on five options, then he either needs to fire his staff for their lack of preparation or admit that this has been a low priority for him while Americans fight and die on the front lines. One does not win wars by waiting three months to decide on whether to properly resource the only real option for victory.

I am not kidding, this is a painting that Obama has had hung in the White House: a blood-red Edward Ruscha canvas featuring the words, “I think maybe I’ll…,” fitting for a president known for lengthy bouts of contemplation. Unfortunately, a president known for lengthy bouts of contemplation isn't particularly fitting as a war president.

Update #2: Fox New is reporting this morning that the troop number will be 34,000--somewhat less than the 40,000 that Gen. McChrystal asked for, but at least perhaps more than expected from this president. I also heard this morning that some of the troops will come from the 10th Mountain Division, Light Infantry, from Fort Drum, New York. That's my son's former division. I've said this before: I was so proud to have him serve, but selfishly, I'm glad he served under Bush and not the ditherer-in-chief who's in office now. God bless the troops.

Update #3: Obama's busy, busy day. This was Monday, the day he was too busy to go to Germany for the celebration of the fall of the German wall, too busy to come to a decision about American troops for Afghanistan. Photo credit, Caption: Obama gives the middle finger to freedom.

***Update #3: I said that Obama ought to talk to Colin Powell. Well, that just shows how wrong a person can be. This was posted November 11, 2009 on Jake Tapper's site at ABC: Powell said he recently advised the president to take his time. "This is a very difficult one for him," Powell said. "And it isn't just a one-time decision. This is the decision that will have consequences for the better part of his administration. So Mr. President, don't get pushed by the left to do nothing; don't get pushed by the right to do everything. You take your time and you figure it out. You're the commander-in-chief and this is what you were elected for."

Oh for the Love of God. So I can only assume that Powell has gone senile and forgotten all those leadership lessons he used to teach in his seminars. Based on what criteria of leadership should Obama "take his time"? It's this sort of thing that makes me want to give up and buy some land somewhere and go off grid.

1 comment:

nobackindown said...

beautifully written and spot on ...