Obama and his Afganistan surge. Open comment.

President Obama is addressing the nation to share his plan for an expected 30,000 more troops with detailed benchmarks for the Afghan government. Some are calling it a limited surge. The troop level is are in line for what General Stanley McChrystal has been requesting. Is Obama’s plan (which appears a lot like Bush’s surge) the right path? Please comment.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 04:49 | Posted in Measure 37 | 19 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rupert in Springfield

    Well, it took 100 days give or take but finally BO made a decision. It would be nice if this president paid a little more attention to the war he spent so long criticizing Bush for ignoring. The delay is inexcusable considering the troop request should have been anticipated long before it came.

    I think my favorite part of the plan is going with 75% of the McChrystal troop request and hoping other NATO countries will make up the difference. Fat chance of that.

    It would be hard to think of a weaker position to put our troops in than what is being perceived now. His supporters think BO is contemplative, deliberative, and that is why it took so long to make a decision. Our enemies think nothing of the kind, They see the man for what he is. A president who seems to need to have everything done yesterday when it comes to spending money at home, but when it comes to increasing troop levels in a war is a mass of indecision. He is a man who is saying he will sign any health care bill that comes out of committee, who will ram through a spending “stimulus” so fast that there just isn’t time to post it so people can read it. Somehow those were emergencies, those things couldn’t wait. There isn’t a lot of credibility left when all of a sudden the main foreign policy issue he ran on, Bush taking his eye off the ball in Afghanistan, has not been considered enough that a massive troop request, which is exactly what happened in Iraq, was not anticipated and dealt with long before the McChrystal request arose.

    What makes the situation even worse is making such an announcement along with specifying that almost all troops would be out by the end of his first term. The situation in Afghanistan is a difficult one, but one BO was aware of long before inauguration day. That he should have been better prepared for the obvious troop request is undeniable. That he handled it in a way that could hardly have been worse is inexcusable. Sadly enough, the disappointing actions of this president are more certain to the American people than our success in this war. The one our president once described as the one we must win. Would that his interest in that outcome was as intense as his lust for using it as a cudgel over the previous administration during the campaign. Sadly, BO’s loquaciousness with answers for handling the war died with that campaign. If only the other planks of his platform suffered the same inattention.

  • Anonymous

    Sonny boy is in waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over his head. His star struck admirers have cost us dearly.

  • Bob Clark

    The reason we went into Afganistan was to catch Bin Laden. He escaped which is not unusual. The only way to get victory might be to let the Taliban regain control, and maybe, Bin Laden wanders back, and then we try it over with more experience the second time around. Kind of stretch of logic I have to admit. Another tack would be to stay around in bunkers and air support until Bin Laden dies of old age or other cause, and then declare victory. I think I prefer this latter strategy.

    • Anonymous

      kind of like Iraq I and Iraq II — pull out now, let the place fester, go back in stronger and smarter later.

  • Oregonian

    You know who else tried to rule Afghanistan as a solidified region? The Safavids, the Persians, the Timoreans, Genghis Khan, the British, the Russians (twice!) and now us.

    The thing is, throughout most of these, it has been known as “Yaghistan,” which means “land of the unconquerable/unrulable.” You’d think we might’ve learned the lesson by now.

    We need to pull the hell out unless ALL member nations of NATO are willing to commit troops.

    • v person

      “land of the unconquerable/unrulable.”

      I don’t see where Obama is saying we are going to conquer or rule the Afghans. Quite the contrary, his goal seems to be to make this effort to help any Afghans but the Taliban rule themselves. He (we) might fail, but its a reasonable goal. No more foolish attempts to turn them into a Jeffersonian democracy.

      Rupert writes: “His supporters think BO is contemplative, deliberative, and that is why it took so long to make a decision.”

      Yep, we do. We also think he had a range of choices from bad to very bad, so he worked the problem as deeply as he could to come up with a least bad option.

      “What makes the situation even worse is making such an announcement along with specifying that almost all troops would be out by the end of his first term.”

      Why is that worse? Worse than what exactly? Making an open ended commitment? Pledging “victory?” We have been there 8 years and have had zero progress. If we can’t stand up a functional government in 3 or 4 more years, then we will never be able to do so. There comes a time to cut your losses. So we either achieve the objective or we don’t, but there is little point in staying forever or making the Afghans think we might.

      “It would be hard to think of a weaker position to put our troops in than what is being perceived now.”

      Think harder. We just had 8 years of way under resourced troops taking and re-taking villages they could not hold. That was a weaker position.

      “Our enemies think nothing of the kind, They see the man for what he is. A president who seems to need to have everything done yesterday when it comes to spending money at home, but when it comes to increasing troop levels in a war is a mass of indecision.”

      With due respect, how would you know what our “enemies” think of Obama? In Afghanistan, our enemies, the Taliban, are illiterate, don’t have cable, don’t listen to right wing rant radio, and most assuredly do not read your Catalyst posts on line, because they have no on line. Its likely many of them have never even heard of Obama. They most likely fight our soldiers because we are infidel invaders. They most likely don’t care who our president is or what his domestic policies are.

      So lighten up.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        You are seriously suggesting the Taliban likely has no idea who Obama is therefore if he appears weak it has no bearing?

        Good God is that an amazingly ridiculous position.

        Obviously if you think Obama’s appearance of weakness has no bearing on the situation you are unaware of bin Ladin’s reasoning behind attacking the World Trade center or Ayatollah Khomeini’s reasoning behind holding the Iran Embassy hostages.

        Ever since Viet Nam standard guerilla warfare strategy is to out wait Americans because they are perceived as having zero staying power and an inability to accept casualties. Clearly you are unaware of this if you think BO appearing indecisive has no relevance because you are under the impression no one over there knows who he is.

        This is definitely one of your more stunning announcements.

        At any rate I am very sorry the war is taking too long for your attention span. I am sure all of us, including you, are thankful such thinking as yours did not prevail in Iraq or in post war Europe! Anyone who thinks setting a deadline for troop withdrawal has no bearing on the success of those troops clearly is a little wacky.

        Ok, how to dig you out of this mess? I only could come up with two basic strategies that could help you at this point. Here ya go!

        Strategy One – Reconsider the absurdity of your statement and try and weasel that you weren’t saying Obama appearing weak is irrelevant.

        Strategy Two – Go on an Obama inherited this, its not his fault rant. You could then employ Dean Weasel 2 (diversion through irrelevant history lesson)

        Warning – Strategy Two does run the risk of backfiring. Mistakes of the past do not sit in isolation and obviously makes one wonder why BO didn’t correct them if they were so obvious. I pointed this out in my post, you pointed it out in yours (8 years of under sourced troops). If the solutions are so obvious, as you yourself admit, then why BO’s dithering in correcting them?

        Those are your best two options as I see it. There might be others but those were the two best I could think of to help you out.

        Frankly I think you are alone in thinking BO wise for taking 100 days to figure out a solution he castigated Bush endlessly for not implementing during the campaign. Obama was the flippant answer man back then. He is many things now. Decisive wartime president not being one of them. You are probably among the last of his supporters to still be clinging to this.

        • v person

          I may have to make a trip over there. The thought of all those young in shape men all in one place is awesome. Thank you Mr. President, I knew you’d make the right decision.

        • v person

          Ignoring the impostor v person above for the moment, and recognizing she seems incapable of writing more than 1 sentence or discussing anything other than her homophobia…

          Rupert writes: “You are seriously suggesting the Taliban likely has no idea who Obama is therefore if he appears weak it has no bearing?”

          The Taliban leadership, such as it is, knows who Obama is. The rank and file may have heard of him and may not. But as they are illiterate, most having never left their native village surroundings, I don’t think anything Obama says or does makes a whit of difference to them. You may be confusing al Queda, which does care a lot about Obama, with the Taliban, who don’t.

          “Obviously if you think Obama’s appearance of weakness…”

          We disagree on your point. I don’t think he “appears weak.” I think he appears to be a thoughtful realist. He explored his options, analyzed to pros and cons, and made a decision that escalates our involvement for a time in the hope that will buy time for the non-Taliban Afghans to get their own act together. What is “weak” about that? He has now doubled the number of Americans fighting there since he took office. That is “weak?”

          “Ever since Viet Nam standard guerrilla warfare strategy is to out wait Americans because they are perceived as having zero staying power and an inability to accept casualties.”

          Yes. It actually far predates Viet Nam as far as being a strategy, and it applies to any power that attempts to rule a people who live somewhere else. My own Greek relatives took to the hills and waged such a war against the Nazis for 4 long years. Conventional armies lose when they don’t win. Unconventional armies win if they merely survive the occupation period. Had we stayed in Viet Nam 5 or 10 or 20 more years we still would have “lost.” The only real question in Afghanistan, as with all of these conflicts, is whether the indigenous anti-Taliban forces can or will be able to stand up to them once we leave, because we are leaving sooner or later and the Afghans will still be there.

          “At any rate I am very sorry the war is taking too long for your attention span.”

          My “attention span” is not the issue Rupert. The issue is how many more American lives and limbs will be lost, how much more this will cost in money we clearly don’t have, and what effect it all has on the ultimate outcome. I support Obama’s decision, including the part that suggests we are not going to be there past his term in office. If he can’t conclude it by then, the next president won’t have any better luck.

          “Anyone who thinks setting a deadline for troop withdrawal has no bearing on the success of those troops clearly is a little wacky.”

          That is strange coming from someone who probably supports time limits on welfare. Our fighting over there, to the extent it results in Afghans failing to take responsibility for their own future, is clearly a problem. The time limit is to get their attention and make it clear we are not an occupier nor a permanent nanny. Fight for your nation and learn to govern yourselves or suffer the consequences is the message. I would think that would make sense to a self described conservative. And by the way, since a timetable was established for withdrawal from Iraq, what has the result been? Less violence and Iraqis taking control of their own affairs.

          “Ok, how to dig you out of this mess?”

          Thanks for your attempt to help, but no thanks. Obama is neither weak nor irrelevant. But consider this Rupert. Bush was president 8 long….very long for me….years. For 7 of those he led the fight against the Taliban. Did they give up because he projected toughness and resoluteness? Because he lacked a timetable? No. After initially being driven out, they regrouped and gained ground. So if acting and talking tough were a solution, this war would already be over.

          “Go on an Obama inherited this, its not his fault rant.”

          Well. He did and it isn’t. Bush had 8 years and failed to “win.” Osama is still loose, and the Afghan government is a mess. If you read reality as a rant, that is on you, not me. Now it is Obama’s turn to see what he can do. It appears he is giving a temporary surge (by definition a surge is temporary, but never mind that) to see if he can shake things up and alter the outcome. I think his odds are at best 50/50. If 18 months or 2 years hence Karzai is still corrupt, the Afghan army fails to materialize, and the war lords are more interested in drug running than fighting the Taliban, then it will be time to pack up and march out.

          “Frankly I think you are alone in thinking BO wise for taking 100 days to figure out a solution ”

          You apparently don’t get out much. Every poll on this says a majority of Americans are fine with him taking all the time he feels he needs. And most polls say most Americans prefer he decides to exit sooner rather than later.

          Now, below this will likely appear another post by a v person that has something to do with her homophobia. Please don’t think it is me ok?

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Well, judging by the reaction to his speech, looks like you are the one person out there who thinks dithering was a good idea.

            I mean the guy couldnt even carry DeFazio, Merkely or Wyden.

            Hope it works, doubt it will. BO is well on his way to loosing the war he once described as “the one we must win”

            Oh well, another failure.

          • v person

            When are you picking up a weapon to support your President? They won’t ask and you don’t need to tell them about your preferences.

    • Provo

      When we ignore history we are bound to repeat it.

  • Moe

    To pre-empt Charle Brown just to tell us he is not going to accept the recommendation of the general he chose is simply crazy.
    And to remind us that he is not going to win the war – just stay a couple years, lose more lives, and then turn it all over. No success.
    What did we expect from the teleprompter empty suit?
    Nice backdrop, too, to lend him some much needed gravitas.
    A fine speech. The whole world loves us now.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >You apparently don’t get out much. Every poll on this says a majority of Americans are fine with him taking all the time he feels he needs. And most polls say most Americans prefer he decides to exit sooner rather than later.

    Well, looks like you are making up more stuff. No wonder you dont give any citations.

    BO’s approval on Afganistan is abysmal. Gallup has him at 35% approve, 55% disapprove on his handling of the situation.

    Caught again Dean, caught again.

    Oh, and here is the link:

    https://www.gallup.com/poll/124520/Obama-Approval-Afghanistan-Trails-Issues.aspx

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)