It is interesting – if not surprising – that in the wake of General McChrystal’s public declaration that more troops and supplies were needed in Afghanistan to ensure the success of our mission, the talking heads and empty suits who occupy the president’s inner circle of advisers have sharply admonished General McChrystal for doing so.
Bad enough it makes the president look bad – we can’t have that – but worse, it puts public pressure on his administration to take action – and by action I don’t mean giving speeches or campaigning in Copenhagen.
With the left wing base of the Democrat party rabidly opposed to sending more troops while fiercely lobbying for a laundry list of government expansion in the man-Child’s domestic agenda, the war in Afghanistan – the one he said was the right war to be fighting – has become quite a political liability – one that he doubtlessly wishes would simply go away.
Alas, and much to Obama’s chagrin, it will not, and he has seen fit to place Afghanistan on the back burner under a very low flame, in favor of what he considers to be far more pressing domestic issues. This can be readily seen in the fact that Obama has had a total of two meetings with McChrystal since the latter was given command of the war effort.
This has left Gen. McChrystal with one option to not only have his strategy heard, but possibly acted on in the near future: appeal to the American people through the media.
For that he has been taken out to the woodshed.
A day after one of the president’s top national security aides gently criticized Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s decision to air his …views on the Afghanistan war in a public forum in London, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a military audience that officers should provide their recommendations to the president in private.
Declaring that military leaders should counsel the president “candidly but privately,” Gates told a conference of the Association of the U.S. Army that President Obama faced a pivotal choice on how best to resource the war in Afghanistan.
“I believe the decisions the president will make for the next stage of the Afghanistan campaign will be among the most important to his presidency. So it’s important that we take our time to do all we can to get this right,” he said.
By emphasizing the need for confidentiality in advising the president, Gates echoed remarks made by National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired Marine general, on CNN Sunday.
Asked yesterday if Gen. McChrystal’s comments in London last week in support of sending more troops to Afghanistan were problematic, Jones suggested the general might have been better off expressing his views more discreetly.
“Ideally, it’s best for military advice to come up through the chain of comment,” Jones said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
It is disheartening to see both the Secretary of Defense and a former Commandant of my beloved Marine Corps play politics to satiate The One and his base, instead of seeing what is clearly a last ditch effort to gain the attention of our Commander-in-Chief, before more our troops are sent home in flag draped coffins. After all, for the General to advise the president candidly and privately, it does actually require the president to meet with him.
Under normal circumstances, I would agree with Sec. Gates and former General Jones. But these aren’t normal circumstances.
The president has shown apathy with regards to meeting with the man that he put in charge of our forces in theater. While Bush met with the top commanders daily it appears that these days Obama simply has no time for them. Had Obama met on a regular basis with Gen. McChrystal then Gates and Jones would have a legitimate argument but that is simply not the case.
McChrystal had only one practical choice and that was to talk to the media to get the president’s attention and hold him accountable to the American people for what may go awry in Afghanistan. Rest assured that had McChrystal kept his counsel and said nothing publicly, the president would have declined to send reinforcements to Afghanistan and then readily tossed McChrystal under the bus, claiming the General failed to do his job.
Now, with all of it in the open air, the president will be forced to take some sort of action – sooner rather than later – and be accountable for those actions. This is precisely why Obama is upset. He’s on the spot.
It saddens me that the de facto head of the Depart of Defense – responsible for all our armed forces – and a former Commandant of my beloved Corps would choose to play politics instead of either remaining silent or supporting the man who is actually trying to win our wars and keep his troops safe.
…That’s change that I still don’t believe in.