Raw Determination Needed
Posted in Foreign Affairs by Peter W. Schramm
This David Brooks
op-ed has it about right: "The experts I spoke with describe a vacuum at the heart of the war
effort -- a determination vacuum. And if these experts do not know the
state of President Obama's resolve, neither do the Afghan villagers.
They are now hedging their bets, refusing to inform on Taliban force
movements because they are aware that these Taliban fighters would be
their masters if the U.S. withdraws. Nor does President Hamid Karzai
know. He's cutting deals with the Afghan warlords he would need if NATO
leaves his country." Read the whole sensible thing.
2:29 PM / October 30, 2009
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Is anyone surprised that the liberals are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...again? You can't hate your own country and engage in successful war at the same time. Obama should just bring them home and declare defeat...and when the Taliban take over and the terrorist training camps start up again, we'll just have to wait for the next attack, the next conservative President (or facsimile of same), and the next cycle of winning (and then losing).
The problem is that half the country is made up of decadent wimps. Who would cooperate with a foreign power that suddenly reverses course every 4 to 8 years?
How could anyone be surprised? Surrender to the Arabs was the plan all along. HUSSEIN Obama's orders come straight from his towel wearing masters in the Middle East.
Read or re-read Robert Wohlstetter's Pearl Harbor (1962). After the Japanese committed to making the daring attack, they selected the right commanders and rogue fliers to lead. They changed the technology of war, when the torpedoes were too heavy or the Zeros too short-ranged. Even when those cowboy fliers said it couldn't be done, they insisted they go ahead. Against all odds, they made the plan work.
The late RobertA Wohlstetter, widow of the late Albert, teacher of generations of perceptive foreign policy scholars and practitioners and daughter, I recently found out. of the historian Edmund Morgan.
Did you read the comments after the Brooks piece? As far as I could read, the desire was for the president to have the courage and determination to pull us out of Afghanistan. Maybe that is just about the online readership of the NYT? However, the talk there is all about what it will mean for our troops on a personal level and about the money being spent, and the other usual things. There is little about what a rapid retreat means for American foreign policy, Afghanistan or the world or even anything two, five, ten years out.
There is the reason why these sort of things never work. Slime always gets to power, mabye it just navigates the cracks better; take our own country as an example. The forigners will eventaully go home. You can only promise the world to people so many times and stab them in the back before the people get wise. In the end, the villagers are going to have live with those people and they probably hold grudges. Its easy to slap a live free or die sticker on a car, its a lot harder to have that mentality when the die part is almost assured.
Fine, determination is needed, but the G.W. Bush administration is a model of the limits of determination when there is a lousy plan, wishful thinking and a spin mentality to setbacks. The Bush administration stuck to its light footprint/counterterrorism strategy for too long in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush administration also (for far too long) resisted expanding the size of the ground forces so that even when they realized that a counterterrorism strategy had to be replaced by a counterinsurgency strategy, there were not enough forces to run such strategies in both Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time in 2007.
Though it must be said that the Bush administration, in all its stubbornness, actually seemed to believe that its strategy was the best one for winning the war, and that when (far too late), they realized it wasn't, they changed strategies. The Obama administration seems to want to continue the failing counterterrorism strategy, not because it promises victory (it is failing as we watch, just as it failed in Iraq), but because it seems cheaper in the short term. Which I guess make Obama and Biden the last adherents of the Rumsfeld Way of War.