A few things about Afghanistan

From Poltical Animal:

Time will tell what President Obama decides about the future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, but at this point, Greg Sargent reports that the Republican Attack Machine is already gearing up to blast the Commander in Chief — if the president decides to go with additional deployments that fall short of 40,000.

Republicans have repeatedly called on Obama to follow the advice of [Gen. Stanley McChrystal], who has reportedly sought 40,000 additional troops. With some of Obama’s top advisers coalescing around a plan to send around 30,000 more troops, GOP leaders are laying the groundwork to criticize anything short of 40,000 as a failure to give his commander the resources he said he needed, the GOP aide tells me.

“There better be a hell of a compelling reason for ignoring the advice of our generals on the ground or Republicans will ensure that this Administration spend the next few years explaining to the American people how dismissing our military’s advice has made our troops and our country safer,” the aide says.

A few things to keep in mind.

First, it’s very likely that McChrystal will endorse the president’s policy, which will leave Republicans throwing a fit by themselves.

Second, the GOP ought to watch that “ignoring the advice of our generals” talk — Bush/Cheney only listened to the generals when they agreed, and I don’t remember congressional Republicans whining about it.

Third, Obama may send thousands of additional troops, but not the full 40,000, leaving Republicans to complain bitter over a brigade or two. As Spencer Ackerman noted, “[L]et’s say that McClatchy is right and Obama goes with 34,000 new troops. Is the Republican Party really going to say that 6,000 troops — basically one to two Army combat brigades — are the difference between success and failure? That’s, well … that just doesn’t make sense.”

The truth is, the GOP officials gearing up to attack the president are, once again, playing a shallow political game. That’s not unexpected — it’s easier than thinking — but that doesn’t make it any less absurd. Indeed, if Obama agrees to an escalation under 40,000 troops, Republicans will attack for coming up short. If Obama agrees to an escalation of exactly 40,000 troops, Republicans will attack for taking too long to come to the decision. Either way, it’s just craven partisanship.

Kevin Drum, however, asks the question that shouldn’t go overlooked: “[H]ow seriously will the media take this when it happens? Will they give plenty of coverage to criticism that’s so patently contrived that a five-year-old would see though it? Or will they treat it as if it’s a serious national security debate?”

I have a hunch we know what to expect.

0 Responses

  1. Obama will likely lose this war for us- he clearly lacks the judgement, dedication, and principle to win such a labrilynthine conflict. He already was caught dozing while the Russians nabbed the Kyrgizstani air base SO vital to any plans for a US “surge” strategy in Afghanistan. – The clueless Obama (and foreign-policy “expert” Biden) were the most vocal opponents of the Petraeus Surge strategy in Iraq, with Slow Joe coming-up with a harebrained plan to surrender and split the country 3-ways. If America had followed their advice then, Iraq would be an Al Qaida Caliphate by now. Of course, the media is too preoccupied with articles on the Dear Leader’s puppy-vetting process and how he likes to play basketball to call him on these serious strategic errors… reality starting to hit hard now, though- http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

  2. Unless we develop a comprehensive South Asia strategy, the most we can hope for is a temporary peace in Afghanistan.
    What would such a strategy look like? Well, at the very least it requires some moderation of the strategic competition between India and Pakistan.

    Without attention to this aspect of the problem, we really are only playing around at the edges of the conflict.
    For more, see: http://bit.ly/3vYHPk

  3. Reaganite Republican —

    I appreciate your comments. I appreciate all points of view as long as there are thoughtful. If they’re not thoughtful, at least make them funny.

    I don’t know, I still have a problem with us invading a country for no good reason. The country was not a threat to us. With Saddam Hussein in power Al Qaeda would not get a foothold. But, if you’re going to say the country needed to be invaded, okay, I’ll give you that for the sake of argument then why didn’t Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, war veterans (well, really veterans from the sidelines for Vice President Cheney) that they were, advised Bush that we need to close the border into Iraq? Al Qaeda in Iraq did not exist before we arrived. We allowed those foreign fighters to come in and create chaos. Why was that?

    I find it a little hard to swallow that Obama’s going to lose the war that George Bush fought for seven years and still couldn’t win.

    Again, thank you for your thoughts.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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