Thursday, December 03, 2009

Obama's Afghan Policy

You can find the speech and transcript at Small Wars Journal.

Looks like it's not popular. The military types don't like it, putting it mildly, and the loony left, better known as "the base" don't like it either. James Taranto has a decent piece discussing some points. (title link) I especially enjoyed reading Rumsfeld's response that he linked to. I'm oh so very tired of hearing about how someone else buggered it up while the ditherer in chief delayed for months.

I personally preferred the drunk blogging of it. Stephen Green makes it easier to swallow especially with a martini (or bucket of vodka) chaser.

A couple of entries at Blackfive gives some taste of what military types are thinking.
Uncle Jimbo has this bit. Though I am a bit pained by the Palin quote he starts the discussion with.

UPDATE: Sarah Palin makes an interesting statement.

At long last, President Obama decided to give his military commanders much of what they need to accomplish their mission in Afghanistan. In the end, he decided to endorse a “surge” for Afghanistan, applying the counterinsurgency principles of “clear, hold and build” that worked so well in Iraq. Given that he opposed the surge in Iraq, it is even more welcome that he now supports a surge in Afghanistan.

I'm sorry did I miss something? He never said he was gonna do COIN and he certainly didn't say anything about "clear, hold and build". He didn't articulate any strategy at all. He had a goal of knocking back the Taliban, but didn't mention what our troops were going to do. Let me know if I missed something.

He also has a short bit here.

McQ (usually at QandO) has this piece.

Robert Haddick at SWJ has an interesting piece on the strategy. Here's a pretty damning bit that he starts off with.
The most controversial feature of President Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan is his decision to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from the country in July 2011. This feature (no doubt aligned with his re-election plans – why else withdraw troops at the start of the Afghan summer fighting season?) is a fatal flaw and makes it very likely that little will go right for his Afghan strategy. Indeed, it negates the point of hastily adding over 30,000 U.S. and European soldiers in 2010.

Over the past three months President Obama and his team have analyzed the Afghanistan problem from first principles. Yet in spite of this effort, their solution is not likely to make the problem go away. Regrettably, the next few years are likely to reveal that America still lacks a winning strategy for modern irregular conflict.

Yep, I pretty much read this all as only politics. No doubt it ends up outside of politics, but the calculations only came up with a strategy that will help him get re-elected. Anyone surprised?

Lots of other links, but I have to go to work.

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