Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2009

Obama Again Delays Afghanistan Troop Decision

Filed under: International,Obama,War — DRJ @ 3:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post reports President Obama may not decide whether to send more troops to Afghanistan until after he returns from his trip to Asia scheduled for November 11-20:

“Asked if Obama’s review was drawing to an end, Gibbs said: “I think it’s nearing its conclusion, yes.”

He left unclear whether Obama would announce his new plan immediately after Afghanistan’s November 7 presidential election runoff or wait until after he returns from a November 11-20 Asia trip.”

McChrystal’s report requesting 40,000+ more troops was in the Pentagon August 30, 2009 but transmittal to the President was reportedly delayed for political reasons. That’s three more months of dithering … or to the Obama Administration, three more months meetings, reports, and assessments.

Given recent reports and events, there’s no doubt in my mind Obama is laying the groundwork to deny McChrystal’s full request. First there was a New York Times report that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother has been involved with the CIA and is an influential but possibly corrupt player in Afghanistan. The Times would be a good place for the Administration to leak such a story, especially if it suggests American lives and money may be wasted in Afghanistan.

Then there was Obama’s trip to Dover Air Force Base last week to honor returning American troops killed in battle, a trip on which Obama callously took along the media to document in photos and words the ultimate tragedy of war. As Hot Air and others noted, the New York Times’ reporter may have been too obvious in making the point of Obama’s visit clear:

“Originally, the New York Times reported on President Barack Obama’s visit to Dover AFB and the arrival of fallen serviceman by explaining that the White House wanted Obama to be seen as concerned and aware of the sacrifices made in America’s war policies:

A small contingent of reporters and photographers accompanied Mr. Obama to Dover, where he arrived at 12:34 a.m. aboard Marine One. He returned to the South Lawn of the White House at 4:45 a.m.
<…>
The images and the sentiment of the president’s five-hour trip to Delaware were intended by the White House to convey to the nation that Mr. Obama was not making his Afghanistan decision lightly or in haste.

Following that link now, the second paragraph quoted is nowhere to be seen.”

Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton engaged in some blunt talk in Pakistan. Her comments indicate she, and almost certainly the Administration she speaks for, believe America’s al Qaeda enemies are really in Pakistan. This opens the door for Obama to claim America’s real enemies aren’t in Afghanistan.

In August, President Obama told a military audience Afghanistan was a “war of necessity” he vowed to fight. But as Michael Barone said last month, apparently now it’s no longer necessary.

— DRJ

80 Responses to “Obama Again Delays Afghanistan Troop Decision”

  1. If we do not prevail in Afghanistan, and the Taliban/AQ increase their power in Pakistan, India will all-of-a-sudden become a major player in this little scenario, and all Hell is going to break out on the sub-continent.
    The Indians will not stand idly by if there is any possibility of Pak nukes falling to AQ and/or other terrorist groups.

    As to the President’s little trip to Dover, he spent four hours there and only got permission from the family of one fallen warrior for his little photo-op – a photo-op that GWB NEVER engaged in his many trips to Dover and Johns Hopkins, all without press or photogs.
    Class tells!

    AD - RtR/OS! (a63966)

  2. “…Johns Hopkins…” Excuse me, I meant “Walter Reed”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (a63966)

  3. I hope that McCain stands up in the Senate and blasts the sh-t out of Dear Leader for this abject cravenness. No more Senatorial backslapping – if he’s serious about this issue (and I believe he is), he has no choice but to make this stand.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  4. I think he’s trying to delay the release of his decision (it’s probably already been made) until another story comes up that will surpass it in the headlines or, if that doesn’t happen, until Thanksgiving.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  5. If he can dither for another 1177 days, he won’t have to decide!

    htom (412a17)

  6. A 12:34 a.m. departure shortly after Wednesday midnight. The SOB was having a good time at his usual Wednesday night (every Wednesday night) party at 1600 Pennsylvania. Then once the party is over, well, let’s saddle up Marine One and go to Dover for a photo op so the hoi polloi know I’ve got a lot of angst about my decision on troop levels.

    This prevaricating, pusillanimous (P)ansy(OTUSA)is beyond being a pathetic putz.

    Mike Myers (710e8b)

  7. Does Obama have even one cell’s worth of decency in his entire being?

    I really do loathe that bastard.

    Matador (e01f85)

  8. No, he does not Matador.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  9. htom…that was my first reaction to the post also.

    AD - RtR/OS! (a63966)

  10. Obama’s inability to make a decision, due in my opinion to his excess concern over public reaction should it turn out unfavorably, will be dutifully covered up by the incandescently vulgar obsequious media horde surrounding him.

    Heh, Jonah Goldberg used that incandescent turn of phrase today and I liked it.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  11. The Times would be a good place for the Administration to leak such a story [that Hamid Karzai’s brother is possibly corrupt] especially if it suggests American lives and money may be wasted in Afghanistan.

    Maybe we should consider Abdullah’s threatened withdrawal from next week’s runoff – along with the widespread electoral fraud cited in August’s balloting – to be White House machinations as well.

    Hamid Karzai accepted a runoff only because the foreign military powers keeping him in power demanded one. The legitimacy of a government in actual control of about a third of the country is quite properly at issue.

    The Russians couldn’t stabilize Afghanistan with 118,000 troops. This is a nation of 33 million people, many of them living in remote villages amidst rugged terrain. It’s unclear to me how anyone believes 40,000 more troops – or even twice that number – can transform a poor, traditional, autonomous, tribal-based society into a functioning centralized state able to govern, defend, and sustain itself.

    As I understand it, Gen. McChrystal’s strategy is not so much about how many more insurgents are killed or captured, but how we “earn the support of the people.” It has not been demonstrated that the hearts and minds of the Afghan people either can be won or are worth winning.

    steve (811acb)

  12. Steve – Barcky told us since he announced that he was running for President that he was uniquely qualified to win in Afghanistan, that it was the just and proper front, and that he head the superior judgment that would allow us to win. Was he lying?

    JD (3164f4)

  13. “The legitimacy of a government in actual control of about a third of the country is quite properly at issue.”

    steve – I think that is the point the military is making, that what happens in Kabul doesn’t matter a whole lot. Our strategy is bottom up rather than top down so excuses about the central government are pure bullshit.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  14. The Russian tactical finesse, is much inthe “Hulk smash’ style, they pulverized Grozny, ‘the fortress’ they had set up one and fifty or so years back during an earlier Chechen war, in the time of Lermontov. They were a good recruiter for
    AQ, giving us at least two of the 9/11 hijacker
    and Zacarias Moussaoui. This is to say, that the US would have to go a long way to alienate people
    as thoroughly as they did in afghanistan or Chechnya

    bishop (996c34)

  15. steve:

    Maybe we should consider Abdullah’s threatened withdrawal from next week’s runoff – along with the widespread electoral fraud cited in August’s balloting – to be White House machinations as well.

    You can if you want but I don’t see any reasonable basis to do so. On the other hand, the story I cite fits the narrative I submit the White House is pushing, and it was published by a source that rarely questions this Administration.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  16. steve:

    It has not been demonstrated that the hearts and minds of the Afghan people either can be won or are worth winning.

    Haven’t we heard this before?

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  17. DRJ – I didn’t know Juan Cole still was writing. Has he put out anything other than on a blog in the past five years? Has he been right about anything? Yale certainly dodged a bullet by hiring him away from Michigan.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  18. by not hiring him away from Michigan

    daleyrocks (718861)

  19. I read some of his early published work on Shia history, the leading figure in the field, now Nakash references most of it. But sometimes
    aroundthe turn of the century he became more of a polemicist

    bishop (996c34)

  20. On the other hand, the story I cite fits the narrative I submit the White House is pushing, and it was published by a source that rarely questions this Administration.

    Essentially, it’s the same narrative.

    Is there a basis for suggesting the Times is pushing it here, other than the customary “they always work hand-in-glove with the Administration” sophistry?

    steve (82c7d2)

  21. Not to be cynical about this, but I believe the president will delay until after our November elections to announce his decision. To reveal his decision early risks alienating the Democrat base, which could prove unfortunate to those of his party seeking office.

    Unfortunately no decision is, in itself, a decision. Meanwhile, our troops, who could use the extra strength to accomplish the mission, are left to twist in the wind. A CIC with the best interests of our armed forces in mind would move quickly to either reinforce at the level requested by his in-the-field commander, or opt to withdraw. If there is no desire to achieve victory, then let us surrender the field to the enemy and avoid needless additional casualties.

    One would think that an intelligent man — such as our president is reputed to be — would recognize the lessons of Vietnam.

    It appears one would be mistaken.

    navyvet (c7f520)

  22. steve,

    Why is it sophistry to believe the New York Times would publish a story in order to help the Obama Administration? After all, it already killed one to help his candidacy:

    Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the ommittee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group’s Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee’s litigation against ACORN, she had been a “confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom.”

    Ms. Moncrief had been providing Ms. Strom with information about ACORN’s election activities. Ms. Strom had written several stories based on information Ms. Moncrief had given her.

    During her testimony, Ms. Heidelbaugh said Ms. Moncrief had told her The New York Times articles stopped when she revealed that the Obama presidential campaign had sent its maxed-out donor list to ACORN’s Washington, D.C. office.

    Ms. Moncrief told Ms. Heidelbaugh the campaign had asked her and her boss to “reach out to the maxed-out donors and solicit donations from them for Get Out the Vote efforts to be run by ACORN.”

    Ms. Heidelbaugh then told the congressional panel:

    “Upon learning this information and receiving the list of donors from the Obama campaign, Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at The New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, “it was a game changer.”’

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  23. I think the Strategic Assessment from Aug 30 and the Resource Request are two different reports, and the resource request wasn’t submitted until much later. (from your link ” It also notes McChrystal is expected to request that 21,000 to 45,000 more troops be sent to Afghanistan” – note future tense – he hadn’t done the request for forces yet.)

    There’s also been at least an AP photographer at Dover since they openned it up to press (with the families permission) about a month ago. After a one-time novelty factor on the first day were there were a lot of press groups there, rarely is there anybody other than the AP there now, unless a dignified transfer of some other ‘newworthy’ entity is occuring. (like the DEA people earlier this week). Some families in fact are somewhat unsettled when they are warned that press people may be there, and then are not. There was a stars and stripes article on this a few days prior to Obama’s visit, but I can’t locate it.

    But in short, there would have been a photographer taking that pic no matter what, under the current system

    Kolohe (72b7a1)

  24. Kolohe,

    I agree the August report did not contain troop requests but we disagree on why. As the McClatchy link said at the time (the link no longer works):

    Monday’s assessment initially was to include troop recommendations, but political concerns prompted White House and Pentagon officials to agree that those recommendations would come later, advisers to McChrystal said.

    As for Dover, I think the operative point was that the media was there for Obama. Is it your position that the media, including the New York Times, was already there and lucked into Obama’s visit?

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  25. If steve had any awareness of Soviet Military Doctrine and Practices, he would know (or should know) that we do things a little differently, particularly when it comes to Small-Unit Warfare and Special-Ops.

    AD - RtR/OS! (c181ce)

  26. As for Dover, I think the operative point was that the media was there for Obama. Is it your position that the media, including the New York Times, was already there and lucked into Obama’s visit?

    No, what I’m saying is even if the press pool that nearly always travels with any President in the Media Age, was, for some reason, not there, the small amount of press people (and specifically the AP photographer) that are always there at Dover these days would have covered this story.

    And subsequently, even though it would have been covered by different people, it would have likely been distributed similarly (i.e. would have made the front page -or wherever it was in a given newspaper – but would have had a AP byline instead of whomever covered the story for a gien newspaper)

    Kolohe (72b7a1)

  27. For an entirely different look at the possibilities of finding a solution to the Afghanistan problem, I urge you to read Major Jim
    Gant’s One Tribe at a Time posted on Steven Pressfield’s blog (the rest of Mr. Pressfield’s writing on the topic is also worthwhile.)

    htom (412a17)

  28. Kolohe wants to argue that this was not some kind of staged photo-op for Teh One.

    JD (efa573)

  29. Why is it sophistry to believe the New York Times would publish a story in order to help the Obama Administration? After all, it already killed one to help his candidacy:

    Two sides to this. The Times says it was handed “a spreadsheet purporting to be the Obama donor list, but there was no on-the-record source or other way to verify that the list came from the Obama campaign.” The worker, who apparently had been fired by ACORN, was never deposed.

    Here’s the paper’s piece on ‘impermissible political activity’ by Acorn [10/22/08]:

    Acorn Report Raises Issues of Legality

    steve (d22304)

  30. The Russians couldn’t stabilize Afghanistan with 118,000 troops.

    To make an equivalence between the US’s efforts to help a country achieve democracy vs. the Russians seeking to subjucate an entire country’s people via the use of brute force is one of the most stunning statements I’ve seen yet on this blog. Any sentient human being attempting to make an argument in this vein is truly a contemptible individual.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  31. steve is now contending that the NY Times was concerned with accuracy, and a lack of a deposition kept this story from proceeding?

    JD (1b6b48)

  32. Kolohe wants to argue that this was not some kind of staged photo-op for Teh One.

    Of course it was a staged photo op – most any pic of any prez is staged these days

    But it would have happened with or without the press pool. If the media weren’t there, the same pic may have very been taken by Air Force public affairs folks – like, you know, actually happened, and picked up by news orgs.)

    Kolohe (72b7a1)

  33. It’s embarrassing watching our little president man pimp dead soldiers for so he can have an excuse to make cowardly Soros-appeasing decisions. This isn’t how the president thing is usually done.

    happyfet (f62c43)

  34. oops. That was me. I own that.

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  35. But it would have happened with or without the press pool.

    So I assume that your point here is that of course the same story occurred with Bush – you know, with the breathless reporting and the associated pictures of the President saluting the coffins at Dover.

    Guess what? It never happened. And btw, Obama asked every deceased soldier’s family if he could get that picture – but only one family relented and let him take that assinine posture and fraudulent photo – op. Military families know a gutless narcissist when they see one.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  36. I’d like to hear steve’s explanation as to why the NYT felt it absolutely critical to disclose clandenstine national security procedures in a time of war, but had no problem with asking the WH, the CIA and the military to help keep it’s kidnapped douchebag reporters in complete secrecy, for fear of their inevitable beheadings.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  37. Comment by Kolohe — 11/1/2009 @ 2:27 am

    The bottom line is the President himself could have made very sure that there wasn’t press access, and given the orders for absolute security and privacy during the visit. It would have been done for him. But he chose to put himself before the families in their grief.

    To me, that there wasn’t a sense of shame in asking even the first family for a picture was telling, but after being told no and continuing to ask others was so painfully self-serving and crass a move, that any dignity and honor of the visit was easily washed away.

    What a shame for the families.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  38. Guess what? It never happened

    Yeah, George W. Bush never had a photo-op at Dover, sure. He had plenty of other photo ops with the military, some quite well known. Did you call him a narcissist also?

    Obama asked every deceased soldier’s family if he could get that picture – but only one family relented

    [citation needed]

    a CNN article states “And his remains were the only ones to be honored in full view of the media with the permission of his family.” but that does not (necessarily) mean they were the only ones honored *because* it was the only family who gave persmission – the modification is on ‘full view of the media’ not ‘only ones honored’

    and in any case even it they were the only family, does that mean SGT Griffin’s family is not a ‘real’ military family, because they didn’t id the ‘gutless narcissist’?

    The track record so far is about 2/3 of the families consent to media coverage. Are they not ‘real’ military families?

    The media sure as hecked jumped on the Dover coffin photos to use them as props – as revealed by the alacrity in which their interest droppped once it was no longer novel.

    But the people that are playing up the Dover photo op *in order to tear it down* need to ask themselves who exactly are using dead soldiers as props in their memetic battles.

    Kolohe (72b7a1)

  39. Kolohe, pretending not to get the point is hardly an argument.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  40. Kolohe is just going to run around with the goalposts on its back.

    JD (9e04d0)

  41. Kohlohe,

    Would you agree it is in very bad taste to seek a photo-op during such a time as it was at Dover – whether the CiC has an R or D after their name? Can we at least agree that there is a general consensus of what decorum and respect demand, and what consideration of grieving families entails, no matter who it is who is POTUS?

    Dana (e9ba20)

  42. Would you agree it is in very bad taste to seek a photo-op during such a time as it was at Dover – whether the CiC has an R or D after their name?

    No, actually.

    As long as it was ok with the families, I have no problem with pictures taken at the dignified transfers being published, and it really doesn’t matter who else is in the picture as long as they handle themselves with the proper decorum.

    Similarly I had no problem with any of Bush’s photo ops, either the happy ones (mission accomplished, Thanksgiving dinner with the troops in Bagdad), or the more solemn ones when he met with injured troops (eg. here) – because I presume the persons consented to the pictures.

    I did have a problem with the wire services that ran the pic of the casualty a few weeks ago over the family’s objections.

    In any case, a picture cannot possibly capture the emotional depth of actually attending a fallen comrade ceremony, so this whole topic is a bit of wankery overall.

    Kolohe (72b7a1)

  43. As the leftists have demonstrated, this is fine because it was all about capturing an image. They are really rather disgusting.

    JD (d3f3ab)

  44. Kolohe,

    I guess that’s my point: “as long as it’s okay with the families” – why even broach seek to exploit them and their loss? If you are POTUS, and ask for permission, by default that family is put into a difficult position to make a decision — why do that to them in the first place?

    Why isn’t the onus on the POTUS to *not* put a grieving family in said position? Why aren’t respect, dignity and good manners the default of the President rather than a photo-op?

    Why doesn’t the POTUS seek to protect and guard those who are at their most vulnerable, and not put them in any position to have to make any more difficult decisions than they already have? I would refer to it as him taking the high road.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  45. humanity’s patriot – i agree. Odonnell is a mewling ass. That was your point, right.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  46. The Kenyan in the White House is voting Present. He can’t understand why the Taliban can’t be sued to be removed from the ballot.

    When the GOP wins Tuesday, than McChrystal will get the troops he asked for.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  47. humanity’s patriot – Nice link. Good to see O’Donnell is continuing his status as one of the worst commentators on TV. Liz Cheney a “pet attack dog?” Well done, Larry. Can you point out where he addressed anything Liz said in his pointless rant?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  48. McChrystal’s going under the bus. Today on Meet the Depressed they showed tape of McChrystal’s Senate testimony with him double talking all around his role in covering up the death of Pat Tilman. (The General said he failed to read the report closely enough.)

    McChrystal was at the center of the effort to hide Tilman’s “friendly fire” death. (That’s likely why Obama selected him to lead the Administration’s Month of March ’09 Strategy in Afghanistan, they had plenty of dirt on McChrystal and knew he could be easily manipulated and if necessary, blackmailed.)

    The cover-up of Tilman’s death was deep and wide, the Army, McChrystal taking point, tried to hide the truth by awarding Tilman an undeserved Silver Star. McChrystal approved the decoration based on the lie Tilman died bravely trying to save another soldier. He actually died at the hands of US troops who failed to correctly identify the target before they started shooting.

    For an Obama house organ like Meet the Depressed to remind the public of McChrystal’s disgraceful display of duplicity now, sends a clear and unambiguous message: Make room under the bus, another fool has outlived his usefulness to Teh One, and so he must go, quickly. And quietly, or else!

    That, plus Abdullah’s withdrawal from another Afghan election is confirmation of Obama’s Month of November ’09 Strategy. Which, of course, will be revealed at the most opportune moment for Teh One, no matter how many US soldiers have to die so he can have another photo op.

    ropelight (2f5f37)

  49. Obama asked every deceased soldier’s family if he could get that picture – but only one family relented

    [citation needed]

    Here’s your cite, numbnuts – is the WAPO good enough for you?

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/10/29/obama_in_dover_as_fallen_troop.html

    As long as it was ok with the families, I have no problem with pictures taken at the dignified transfers being published,

    Except that it wasn’t, save for one family – what was your point again?

    The track record so far is about 2/3 of the families consent to media coverage. Are they not ‘real’ military families?

    Where’s your hallowed “cite” for this statement? Let’s see it – now.

    He had plenty of other photo ops with the military, some quite well known. Did you call him a narcissist also?

    Bush made weekly visits to veteran’s hospitals, but rarely was a press mention or photo op made. Everyone at the hospitals knew about it, but no one discussed it with the press, and you never, never heard Bush discuss it.

    Keep digging that hole, Einstein. You’re about halfway to China at this point.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  50. Kolohe is just going to run around with the goalposts on its back.

    At this point, the goalposts are up it’s arse.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  51. Thanks for the cite, that did make it clear. Here’s mine.

    Christian Davenport
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    But in the six months since the controversial ban was lifted and 258 families were allowed to choose whether they wanted the media present, 60 percent said yes, according to the military.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/23/AR2009102301828.html

    I was a bit on the high side (by 7%) but was in the ballpark

    Except that it wasn’t, save for one family – what was your point again?

    It was Ok for that one family. If they’re fine with it I’m fine with it. You and some others don’t seem to be fine with that family’s decision.

    Bush made weekly visits to veteran’s hospitals, but rarely was a press mention or photo op made. Everyone at the hospitals knew about it, but no one discussed it with the press, and you never, never heard Bush discuss it.

    Bush’s visits made the news and were photographed, where do you think I got the photo I posted above?

    (To be fair, Cheney and Rumsfeld made visits that were even more low key. But that’s part of my orginal point, the President of the United States, because of who he is, cannot do *anything* low key.)

    Kolohe (72b7a1)

  52. Given recent reports and events, there’s no doubt in my mind Obama is laying the groundwork to deny McChrystal’s full request.

    I guess if Obama is going to have to — or desires to — reveal his leftist inner-self, it might just as well be on this matter than on something like Zelaya and Honduras.

    A lot of societies like Afghanistan are variations of no-win situations, so it’s hard to know what ultimately is the best strategy. Getting the right amount of appropriate isolationism and appropriate interventionism is often difficult, but much tougher when the White House is occupied by someone with “goddamn America” sentiments.

    Mark (411533)

  53. One would think that an intelligent man — such as our president is reputed to be — would recognize the lessons of Vietnam.

    It always annoys me when intelligence is not also aligned with a person’s ideology. IOW, someone could have a brilliant mind when it comes to rote memory (eg, Bill Clinton) or creativity (eg, various people in the arts), but be almost retarded when it comes to common sense and logic (eg, President Barack “Goddamn America” Obama).

    Mark (411533)

  54. #54, Mark, initially wasn’t “…McChrystal’s full request” in the neighborhood of an additional 80.000 troops, and was immediately cut in half by the White House?

    Now, after much dithering and double talking, conventional wisdom is that McChrystal’s “full request” was only 40,000 troops, half what his report initially requested.

    ropelight (2f5f37)

  55. To be fair, Cheney and Rumsfeld made visits that were even more low key. But that’s part of my orginal point, the President of the United States, because of who he is, cannot do *anything* low key.

    He could have been low key by telegraphing to the families it needn’t be a photo op.
    At least one family went from “media can photograph my son’s casket” to “media can’t photograph my son’s casket” when she was told Obama would be there. Would Obama have gone if he’d been told nobody would allow the picture to be taken and broadcast? He hasn’t before.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  56. This was all about creating and cultivating an image, and Kolohe is cool with that.

    JD (ee8a9e)

  57. “…the President of the United States, because of who he is, cannot do *anything* low key.

    While I understand this in the broader sense, the President asking for and/or seeking out photo ops is very different than just being low-key. One involves a willful exercise to take advantage of an opportunity, the other is something rather out of one’s control. However, from the linked WaPo article, the WH made their choice known,

    “…the White House gathered a small group of reporters to accompany him on short notice for the middle-of-the-night trip.”

    Dana (e9ba20)

  58. You don’t cultivate the image that war dead are the true cost of war if you are about to put more troops in harm’s way.

    The caskets thing is just a sick example of a foot-in-the-door argument, anyway. People who want to fixate on that emotionally laden image are always anti-war. Just like pro-medical marijuana people are always pro-pot legalization.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  59. Kohole,

    I understand your point about the media coverage of Obama’s trip to Dover to be that the media always travels with him so they would have been there no matter what happened. I’m no expert on the White House press, but this started at 12:45 AM and lasted about 5 hours. I doubt reporters camp out at the White House Briefing Room 24/7 — they have to be told to show up for an overnight event like this, don’t they?

    As for Dover, there may very well be a photographer present after the President changed the policy last Spring, but is there a permanent reporter there, too? (Let alone one from the New York Times, although if that’s the case it’s no wonder they are having financial problems.)

    In other words, this wasn’t a normal Presidential outing. It was more like the President sneaking to Dover in the dead of night — something Joe Biden once thought was unacceptable:

    In 2004, Vice President and former Delaware Sen. Joe Biden called it “shameful” for dead soldiers to be “snuck back into the country under the cover of night.” The policy has faced opposition from photographers, First Amendment advocates and some families of deceased soldiers.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates in February ordered a review of a military policy that bans the media from taking photographs of U.S. soldiers’ caskets as they’re flown into Dover Air Force Base.

    His announcement came less than 24 hours after President Obama spoke on the issue at his first prime time press conference. Obama did not give a clear answer when CNN’s Ed Henry asked if he supported the current ban. But the president said his administration is in talks with the Department of Defense on the matter.

    “I don’t want to give you an answer now before I’ve evaluated that review and understand all the implications involved,” the president told Henry.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  60. DRJ, I mentioned this upthread: at the WaPo link apparently the WH had to rustle up reporters to join them,

    Obama’s visit was not announced in advance on his public schedule. Instead, the White House gathered a small group of reporters to accompany him on short notice for the middle-of-the-night trip.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  61. I’m no expert on the White House press, but this started at 12:45 AM and lasted about 5 hours.

    If that timeline is accurate, then it’s even more disgusting – and incredibly ghoulish. Gosh, all those reporters cooling their heels on the tarmac, waiting for teh One to give them their very own somber, head – tilted – to – one – side look of concern pic. What an awesome commander in chief – really classy.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  62. There were alot of families that were disgruntled with Bush, because he would NOT do what Obama has done.

    As far as political opportunism goes, many in the previous Whitehouse said that ALL Bush’s operations were political strategies.

    humanity's patriot (ae1d2a)

  63. There are two sides of the debate, most definitely. The problem I have is, at what point does it become political, or rather, how can it not be politicized right from the get-go?

    And, if we continue to see these photo-ops with any regularity, do we risk the danger of the enormous significance being lost as it instead devolves into something rote?

    Dana (e9ba20)

  64. We have this funny thing on this blog – we ask for actual proof when unknown commenters come on and make sweeping statements like that one.

    Sound good, sweetheart? Let’s see it – all of it. Let’s see evidence of all of those disapproving military families excoriating Bush. Then you can give us that long list of sources that directly link former administration officials making that explicit claim of Bush’s actions all being completely political in nature.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  65. Dana,

    I read your comment after I posted mine. Had I seen your comment first, I probably wouldn’t have bothered because you already made my point — and better.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  66. There are two sides of the debate, most definitely. The problem I have is, at what point does it become political, or rather, how can it not be politicized right from the get-go?

    It became political when CNN, CBS, and ABC decided to show the transfer on a split screen with George HW Bush speaking lightheartedly at a press conference 18 years ago.
    CNN, CBS, and ABC were not using it to honor the dead nor were they treating it as a dignified and somber ceremony. They were using it as a political bludgeon.

    Every president since then has known it would be used the same way against them the minute the press turned against a war or an action. That is why it was not lifted. That is also why so many anti-war activists wanted it lifted.

    There are many ways to honor the war dead, and many ways to understand the costs of war. There are also many ways to bring into public consciousness the cost of losing war. Or not going to war. Or- as is currently happening- the cost of having troops on the ground as the war strategy remains undefined.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  67. An excellent point that I had completely forgotten about, MayBee.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  68. because he would NOT do what Obama has done.

    What? Sit on his hands and dither like an old woman?

    many in the previous Whitehouse said that ALL Bush’s operations were political strategies

    Who? The Clinton White House, perhaps? Don’t worry, they’re still at it.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  69. As for Obama….of course he has not gone in any of the months before this. What does it tell us that he went now?
    Is it the only time the families would allow him to film it?
    Is it important now, as the casualty count increases, to show that he realizes it is happening (without actually making a decision about what to do to stop it)?
    Is it a way to start a climb-down from his/McChrystal’s original stated goal, which would mean putting more troops in harm’s way?

    Was it an insurance policy against media mischievousness? Would the media eventually have shown a picture of him golfing (or telling the Cousin Pookie Story) while a dignified transfer was taking place?

    MayBee (34a54a)

  70. If you were to put the Constitution including the Bill of Rights to a vote in the Democrat Congressional caucus, both House and Senate, it would not pass a simple majority vote in either one. In the off chance the text of the measure was confusing and by some quirk it did pass accidentally, Obama would veto it.

    ropelight (2f5f37)

  71. Racists

    JD (f4fc38)

  72. I remember when Obama planned on visiting wounded Americans at the Landstuhl military base during his 2008 European celebrity tour, only to cancel his plans when he was informed that campaign staff and the media would not be allowed to accompany him. He has a history of trying to use the military as props and this latest example was ghoulish and disgusting coming from a man who would not even cover his heart for the national anthem or consider wearing a flag lapel pin. Total dithering unqualified socialist empty suit twatwaffle is what he is.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  73. Yeah daleyrocks- and do you remember how he tried to blame the Pentagon for not “letting” him go into Landstuhl?
    Weenie.

    MayBee (34a54a)

  74. MayBee, yes, and he went shopping in Berlin instead!

    Dana (e9ba20)

  75. There were alot of families that were disgruntled with Bush, because he would NOT do what Obama has done.

    This is an obvious lie but no surprise there. Liar, here is a link to Bush’s reactions and you might notice it is to a lefty site snickering that he was overcome.

    We need better trolls but maybe they are all out working for Dede.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  76. So this decision will now not be until almost Thanksgiving?

    JD (b292bd)

  77. Indeed, Mike K., it is astonishing how brazen the trolls are in just making up stuff to disguise their hypocrisy in reaction to Obama.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  78. SPQR,

    They are just making things up to win an argument and to protect teh one.

    PCD (1d8b6d)


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