Patterico's Pontifications


The Judgment to Lead

Filed under: International,Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 11:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Candidate Obama said Afghanistan is “the war that has to be won” and, as he visited Afghanistan during the Presidential campaign, he spoke of the need to increase American troops in order to finish the job:

“Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said today that U.S. combat troops should be shifted to Afghanistan from Iraq.

“This has to be our central focus, the central front of our battle against terrorism,” Obama said on CBS’s Face the Nation program. “One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here.”

Obama’s position on Afghanistan was notable because he not only opposed the Iraq War from the start, he also opposed the surge that was ultimately successful. Thus, it will be a special kind of irony if President Obama denies General McChrystal’s request for more troops for Afghanistan.

Barack Obama didn’t run on a firm ideological platform or years of government experience and leadership. Instead, he ran as the smarter, wiser candidate with The Judgment to Lead, so it matters if his initial judgments are wrong. Candidate Obama said America needs to win in Afghanistan and he implied the way to win is by sending more troops. As long as President Obama continues to procrastinate or refuses to send more troops as requested by General McChrystal, it not only brings Obama’s initial judgment into question, he risks losing the war.

I want President Obama to succeed in Afghanistan and in the fight against terrorism. I hope his decisions result in a U.S. military victory, freedom for the Afghan people, and an Afghanistan that is an American ally in the region. However, at this point, I don’t trust his judgment.


20 Responses to “The Judgment to Lead”

  1. See, President Obama has admitted that the statements about more troops to Afghanistan was political, and not any kind of statement as to what his policy would be…

    Neat, huh?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  2. The fact is, he is stuck – but he put himself there. And to put off the decision only makes things worse.

    There are some decisions that you can wait out and a clearer picture unfolds – and the best decision can be made. This is not one of those situations.

    The President needs to act. Now. There are only two options: a big pull back or send in the troops requested. Waiting only makes the problem worse.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  3. And ironically, decisions where he could have waited he made without all the facts (or with bad information) and refuses to back away from.

    I speak, of course, of Honduras.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  4. Other than for purely political reasons, is there a good explanation as to why the White House keeps asking the General to not formally send in his findings and requests?

    JD (45da85)

  5. Gee, does anyone really believe Obama is anything other than a ’60s peacenik that would be happy to have a 2,000 man army sitting in their barracks in Kansas waiting for orders to help with the next flood in Iowa or Missouri?

    After all, with Obama as president the whole world loves us and the military isn’t needed. More money for Acorn.

    MU789 (511984)

  6. I thought he had, and this was what was leaked…

    FYI, the General has apparently threatened to resign his commission if he doesn’t get more troops.

    Scott Jacobs (445f98)

  7. I didn’t consider a third option: Fill the Afgan and Pakistan skies with drone aircraft. I can’t recall, is this how the Terminator series started?

    Corwin (ea9428)

  8. Rules for Radicals has no advice on fighting terrorists.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  9. For those folks who kept insisting that running a campaign was “experience” for this office, I hope you are quite pleased at the thumb-fingered antics of Vanity Smurf.

    The world is not a safe place. Experience running things other than one’s mouth should be what voters look toward. This fellow was simply a mirror held up, and people saw what they wanted to see, rather than look at the record.

    And according to the polls, people are starting to wake up.

    I’ve written this before, and I will write it again. I hope this guy develops a learning curve that inflects steeply upward. For all our sakes’.

    Eric Blair (184ac1)

  10. There is never just one way of winning a particular conflict and there is never just one general who is capable of getting the win. Thus, rejecting McChrystal’s request for more troops, even if he does resign out of principle (which by the way, generals never seem to do) does not automatically equate to loss in Afghanistan*.

    Personally, I would like to see McChrystal replaced with someone who cares more about our troops than Afghan civilians and I would like to see a strategy that accomplishes our goals* without the need for even more troops.

    Having said that, I agree with the sentiment that Obama isn’t up to the task.

    * and by the way, it would help if there was consensus on just what we’re trying to accomplish in Afghanistan. Is it to kill terrorists? To deny the Taliban power? To keep the Taliban from offering haven to Al Qaeda? To turn Afghanistan into some kind of wonderful peaceful friendly country?

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  11. at the thumb-fingered antics of Vanity Smurf.

    I really like this one – even better than my upcoming moniker to be premiered shortly, called “Dope and Change.”

    Dmac (a93b13)

  12. The President had a knack for telling people that sacrifices were necessary, but I have an easy answer.This jibed with the left wing of the Democratis Party, for whom sloganeering replaces thought. But,it’s a tough world.He’s 1/8th through his term. Not good.

    corwin (43c464)

  13. That’s high praise from you Dmac.

    After all the media hoopla that GW Bush wouldn’t admit that he had “made mistakes,” and yet the media lets this guy say what he did about “his game,” I was outraged.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  14. Hey, I guess Obamassiah is really stupid. He can’t see every decisison he’s made about Iraq and Afghanistan has been 180 wrong. He should make a decision, write it down, and then do the opposite.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  15. …like George Costanza’s famous epiphany – “if everything you do is wrong, the opposite must be right.”

    Dmac (a93b13)

  16. Rules for Radicals has no advice on fighting terrorists

    Because, the radicals are the terrorists!

    AD - RtR/OS! (5b5739)

  17. I watched Teh One’s speech to the UN, and only nearly barfed 3 times. Momar “I have a bad bad bad wig” Quaddafi was far more … entertaining. Damn, he just ain’t all right.

    JD (959071)

  18. Sorry folks; no learning curve for BO. He isn’t up to the job and never was. Sometimes the FNG can rise to the demands of the job. This one can’t.

    Bar Sinister (d2caac)

  19. There are no adults in the Democrat party.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  20. Hope is not a strategy;
    change is not a tactic;
    deeds trump words.

    htom (412a17)

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