commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

How the president came to ordering up the 'surge'…….

This is a process piece, which I love, because you get the feel for how and why people do things…..Something you will never get watch things on TV….

I love process pieces…. which is what this piece is from Peter Baker at the New York Times…

We all remember Barack Obama a little more than a year ago, going into Iowa…. He had to figure out a way to get the liberals to come on board with him…not Hillary Clinton…what could he do?

He turned to the Iraq war…Hillary had voted for the consent given Bush from the congress going into Iraq…

Later on in the campaign. …Bush, finally addressing Rumsfeld’s lack of enough boots on the ground decision, would sent an additional amount of troops in a ‘surge’…. again Obama would complain…”the surge hasn’t worked”…. locking in the democratic left…

Well, now the shoe is on the other foot…Barack Obama is the President…the Commander-in-Chief….

This piece, and others in the Washington Post, and the Politico website detail how Obama dealt with the fact that Afghanistan is now his war. And despite the democratic left…he does not want to be the guy who lost Afghanistan….

The real story to me is about the struggle Obama had in trying to resist the direction his commander on the ground in Afghanistan wanted to take…

From the beginning the piece points out that General Stanley Chrystal looked at the campaign as something he could sink his teeth in and wrestle with( He replaced a commander that was too complacent for Sec of Defense Gates)…. a Special Operations Commander before taking over the Afghanistan campaign …all of the top players forgot that Chrystal is expert at fighting unconventional warfare…and he has proved adaptive at dealing with his Commander-in-Chief…

Chrystal upon taking over his command, went on record that things were worst than everyone thought…. the Taliban and al-Qaeda were taking over more territory…and the administration would see an election in the country, where its leader would steal votes in broad day light, and the CIA would advise the Washington DC principals that the country’s government was corrupt, disorganized and ineffective…

The details are here but it came down to this…once the president understood Mc Chrystal wanted more troops, and that the place was spinning out of control… there was no going back…. liberals be damned, there would have to be a troop increase…McChrystal, and the situation in the country, along with his political common sense left him no choice…again, there would more troops…

Argue as much as he did …Vice President Joe Biden was left alone…. While Defense Secretary Gates, and National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones had warned Chrystal early on that it was politically impossible to have more troops sent to Afghanistan…. Chrystal ignored their counsel

After issuing their warnings …both men would step back when it became obvious that Chrystal was pushing ahead…

Obama understood  that by the middle of the summer that there was going to be more troops…. Everyone else (except Biden, again) then jumped on board.

It became known the Gen. Jones was okay with more troops, as was Gates…Chrystal has flushed out the troops position with the CIC….

The plan for either, A) 80,000, B) 40,000 or 15,000 was presented to Joint Chief Staff Chair Mullen and Chrystal’s immediate boss Gen. Petraeus…who pasted the plan on to Sectary Gates…

The next thing everyone knew the basic’s of the plan was leaked….

Gates had no choice but to publicly chew Gen. Chrystal out, which caused a lot of Army bosses to get very upset…they wanted to get the troops so they would not be in the same situation that had happened in Iraq after the first fight there was done…. not having enough troops to be able to hold ground…

It turned out though that President Obama was going at the problem from a different angle…he was questioning the whole Afghan policy…since the war had been handed to him by Bush…he wanted to know …WHY was the country doing what it was doing?

At this time Obama had to let everyone know (actually, just Biden…. since everyone else had picked up the scent that their was going to be a lot of troops going there)…

On October 9…Obama formally got Chrystal’s request…. everyone knew 80,000 was too many troops and 15,000 was too few…. the call would be 40,000…. Chrystal was a good strategic thinker…everyone got the hint…. Obama would be worried about they cost factor (1 Trillion dollars if those troops stayed for ten years)….

At this point things moved to a different level…the bosses jumped back in Clinton brought the doubts of the US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Eikenberry to the table…when would the troops leave?……Gates began to work the system to plan who would deploy….And Gen. Jones of the NSC worked to make the process smooth…there was a lot of people in the process at this time….

Finally, Obama still worried by the numbers and the cost. Asked Gen. Petraeus….’what I’m looking for is surge”….

The stories are priceless…. this is how things get done…not like in movies…. doubts.…different points of view…politics…but common sense when the rubber meats the road…people warning subordinates…but strong willed subordinates (who are warriors) pushing ahead…old politicians standing back until the fight is over when the boss goes with the subordinate’s plan….and a Vice president who argues for less….to be told in the end….that would not be enough…

Everyone played their part…. But in the steel eyed General Stanley Chrystal called the ball and rode it thru….

The President bough in…and he is now beholding to a success in that campaign by Chrystal, who holds his own, and what could be the President’s, who is the Commander-in-Chief’ s, political future, and  well-being along with Afghanistan’s…. in his hands…

December 6, 2009 - Posted by | Government, Media, Men, Military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. And despite the democratic left…he does not want to be the guy who lost Afghanistan….

    sounds like a lame line to justify sacrificing soldiers to some archaic G_D

    Comment by Timothy Peter Leal | December 7, 2009 | Reply

    • No TPL that is NOT a lame excuse…..think about what I wrote…people who run…and win the race to be president of the United States don’t like to lose anything….Especially something their predecessor had no clue about…..

      The piece I did explains that its all right to complain and even submerge your true feeling when you RUN for something…but after you take that oath in front the world on January 20th…..things change…

      It is something very few peole understand…..

      I have telling you this for a while TPL….

      You won’t accept it…..

      But just like the Stimulus (which is turning out to be a success) you cannot accept the fact that for a rookie….Barack H. Obama is doing pretty good, democrat, and all……

      Comment by jamesb101 | December 7, 2009 | Reply

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