Obama fears liberal war pressure

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Sep 2, 2009.

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  1. W.H. fears liberal war pressure
    By: Mike Allen
    September 1, 2009 04:51 AM EST

    White House officials are increasingly worried liberal, anti-war Democrats will demand a premature end to the Afghanistan war before President Barack Obama can show signs of progress in the eight-year conflict, according to senior administration sources.

    These fears, which the officials have discussed on the condition of anonymity over the past few weeks, are rising fast after U.S. casualties hit record levels in July and August.

    The aides also expressed concern that Afghan election returns, still being tallied, will result in a narrow reelection for President Hamid Karzai that could result in qualms about his legitimacy — “Tehran II,” as one official put it, in reference to the disputed Iranian election.

    The result: some think Afghanistan — not health care — will be the issue that defines the early years of the Obama administration.

    “There’s no question that the drumbeat is going to get louder and louder on the left, and you’ll see some fall-off on the right,” said Matt Bennett of the think tank Third Way, the moderate voice of the progressive movement. “His supporters on the Hill are fighting a really serious political battle to keep the criticism under control.”

    The Afghanistan conflict, which has gotten relatively little attention in part because Obama talks far more often about domestic concerns, is roaring back to the top of the Obama agenda as Congress is about to return from weeks of meetings with often unhappy voters.

    Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) last week called for a timetable to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan — the same tactic he and other war opponents used to build congressional support for forcing an end to the Iraq war.

    But Obama officials — including National Security Adviser James Jones and Defense Secretary Robert Gates — know the problem is much bigger than Feingold and timetables. They anticipate a growing number of anti-war liberals will call, with increasing force, for an end to the conflict when lawmakers return. Cost could become an issue, too. With deficits high, there will be heavy pressure on Obama to find savings somewhere in 2010 — and war critics see Afghanistan as a good place to start.

    George F. Will opened a new fissure among conservatives with a column Tuesday calling for the U.S. to pull all ground troops out of Afghanistan, on the theory on the French general Charles de Gaulle that genius “sometimes consists of knowing when to stop.”

    But it’s Democratic opposition that could force Obama to retreat on what he has called a "war of necessity."

    To try to salve critics, the administration has been developing a series of numerical indicators, scheduled to be sent to Capitol Hill by Sept. 24, that are designed to sharpen U.S. goals by measuring everything from civilian deployments to the proportion of the Afghan population that is secured.

    Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told POLITICO: “We have to show the American people that all this effort, all these resources, all these lives are making a difference.”

    White House officials expect that a whole new national conversation about what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan, and how, will be prompted by recommendations for strategy adjustments that Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, made in an assessment of the war that went to the Pentagon on Monday and is likely to be delivered to the White House in the next week.

    McChrystal held off from requesting additional troops in the assessment, but administration officials expect he will ask for at least 10,000 more soldiers and Marines later this fall, on top of the 20,000 additional troops Obama authorized in February and March.

    “Our point here is: Let’s see what’s working, and what’s not, and base it on the facts, not a gut instinct that most commanders have, that more is better,” a senior administration official said. “We’re prepared to shift and adjust, depending on what we see work. We need to let this strategy take hold, and see what we’re doing well, and if there are deficiencies, before coming in with any requests for additional resources.”

    Nevertheless, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at Monday’s briefing: “I think there's broad agreement that for many years our effort in Afghanistan has been under-resourced politically, militarily, economically.”

    Liberal House members have already made it clear they will balk at future funding requests, but now the administration is trying to make sure that leaders and key committee chairmen don’t also lose their stomach for the conflict after two months in a row of record U.S. casualties since the 2001 invasion.

    “It doesn’t need to be victory in 12 months to 18 months — that’s not realistic,” a top administration official said. “But the American people needed to have a sense that we are moving in the right direction. We need to bring about noticeable change on the ground. We have to start to show progress.”

    Bennett, of Third Way, said Americans need to recognize that the situation Obama inherited in Afghanistan “is as bad as the economy was — heading off the rails in just as dramatic a way.”

    “In both cases, the president took a bunch of action very quickly to get back on track, and it will take time to show benefits,” Bennett said.

    But unlike with the economy, there are few signs of “green shoots” in Afghanistan.

    In August, U.S. deaths in Afghanistan passed 50 for the first month since the 2001 invasion, adding to administration worries about keeping key lawmakers on board. A senior official said the White House always “knew it was going to get worse before it got better.”

    “These casualties, as gut-wrenching as they are, are not a surprise to anyone,” the official said.

    “When you put in 20,000 additional forces and you deploy them to regions of the country that had been untouched by coalition forces for a long time — had been basically ceded to the Taliban — it’s not at all unexpected that that would then result in difficult confrontations, and American and coalition lives lost. But, ultimately, by going after the Taliban in these strongholds, it’ll turn the tide in those areas.”

  2. Yep, it'll be those damn liberals again. Still the conservative Republicans will still be onside....no wait a minute, what's this?

    In a column published Tuesday, Washington Post columnist George Will made a bold pronouncement: It's time for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan.

  3. In case your comment was meant to imply I only play to one side, I already posted the George Will piece and a followup op-ed on it. I am a conservative yes but neither a republican nor democrat nor libertarian-I don't fully trust any politician or political party. As Ronnie used to say, "Trust but verify."
  4. Two thoughts for what they are worth (tired from driving).

    1. George Will is the kind of conservative thinker that towers over the Becks, Limbaughs and Hannity's who have far greater influence. They don't make them like him, Charles Krauthammer or Wm Buckley anymore, mores the pity.

    2. If Obama punts on A'stan because of the far left he'll lose the center. I think the anti-A'stan contingent influence is far overblown; most of the mainstream Dems who got elected on Obama's coattails (and Obama, and Clinton) think A'stan is the 'good fight'. My guess is it's overstated but time will tell.
  5. I think the fear is well placed. The sharp turn to left Obama has taken has to end very soon are Democrats will be slaughtered in 2010 elections. The left will very likely turn against afghanistan as a means of venting there anger about Obama moving to the center. Once they lack leftwing Obama policys to fight for they will begin to look for other issues to focus on with opposition to afghanistan war being a natural target. The left poses a problem for Obama in that if he doesnt give them a cause to fight for they may well start choosing there own causes to fight for and ones he may not like. The right will bash Obama on afghanistan for not producing victory fast enough. There is always going to be a minor isolationist streak in the republican party but the imperialists dominate the party and wont turn against the war. They will however gladly use it as a club to beat Obama with over his failure to produce a rapid victory.

    Obama though hasnt helped himself by his wasteing of massive amounts of political capital in allowing the investigation of CIA interogation methods. He is at very great risk of trying to fight a war without any political base of support. He risks having a left that is opposed to the war and a center and right that oppose the way he is fighting it.

    The real story here is that people think Obama is in for a very large fall in popularity in the very near future and how that expected fall is going to affect anything and everything Obama touches.
  6. This is a bit unsettling--we seem to be moving toward common ground. :D

    I don't argue the point (and they would not either if you listen to them) that the former commentators are more entertainer (hence their ridiculous incomes) than the latter. This does not mean, however, that they should be ignored. they actually do a great deal of spade work and those who disagree with their style etc. would do well to listen for the kernels of substance.

    Having done my own research I am persuaded Beck et al. (and increasingly the commentators you more admire) are on to something real in terms of the overall tone and philosophy of the Obama mafia and all of us who value America should look further as I and others are doing. As I have consistently said, I consider these issues to transcend mere politics, race or other rather petty matters in which those who see only the surface issues seem to wallow. Instead, they go to the core of our republic and the Constitution.

    As an amateur historian, I know that in such times as these where there is such an air of "crisis" and "emergency," we are at the greatest risk of excursions from our Constitutional roots (the virtual nationalization of our economy in the depression, internment of the Nisei in WWII, the McCarthy era and the abuse of power in the HUAC, the post 9/11 period that brought us the Patriot Act (parts of it are unconstitutional I believe) and now the myriad efforts of the Obama crowd and surrogates to establish a progressive (and in many aspects fascist--I use the term advisedly and in the political science context-not in the popular misuse of the term equating it with Nazis).
  7. And excellent example of right-wing tin-foil hattery.
  8. I believe WaPo or WSJ had an interesting article some months back about how it's proven a very bad idea for US politicians to make enemies of the CIA. No, not Black Ops skullduggery, they're just very powerful and savvy players on the Hill and back rooms of DC.
  9. Yup, everyone I know in DC with any knowledge of them outside the 'secret squirrel' realm say the same thing; very politically savvy bunch.

  10. [​IMG]

    The KKK endorse this latest jumpingjarhead closet racist post
  11. Which one is Senator Robert Byrd (Democrat, West Virginia)?
  12. Too funny! I so appreciate your consistency in the name calling instead of discussion.
  13. Well played SM! :D
  14. I like Obama but did not notice anything racist, closet or otherwise in JJH's post. The tactic of shouting "racisit" at people who you don't agree with is pretty unsound. In fact it is so low that it is a typical New Labour tactic.

  15. JJ's perma-rant about President Obama is clearly driven by an undercurrent of racism.