Sailors Cheer Obama Delaying Afghan Decision

#1
This compares with a somewhat chillier although polite reception from Marines who were appeared to take a different view of the delay, especially in view of the news of 4 more Marine deaths as well as 10 other Americans.

Sailors Cheer Obama Vow To Take Time Before Sending Them To War

7:23 pm

October 26, 2009

By Frank James

Appearing at the the Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida on Monday, President Barack Obama drew understandable cheers and applause from service members when he said he would take his time to deliberate before putting them in harm's way.

And while I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this -- and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan: I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way. I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. (Applause.) And if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt. Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, and the defined goals as well as the equipment and support that you need to get the job done. We are not going to have a situation in which you are not fully supported back here at home. That is a promise that I will always make to you. (Applause.)

The statement was meant as pushback against the president's critics, most recently former Vice President Dick Cheney, who have accused the president of taking too much time to decide on next steps in Afghanistan. The former vice president accused the president of "dithering" on the decision.

If their commander in chief had any doubts about the approach he's taking, the positive vocal response of the sailors and Marines to his vow to try and get the strategy right before deploying them could have only given him some reassurance.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2009/10/sailors_cheer_obama_vow_to_tak.html
 
#2
jumpinjarhead said:
This compares with a somewhat chillier although polite reception from Marines who were appeared to take a different view of the delay, especially in view of the news of 4 more Marine deaths as well as 10 other Americans.

Sailors Cheer Obama Vow To Take Time Before Sending Them To War

7:23 pm

October 26, 2009

By Frank James

Appearing at the the Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida on Monday, President Barack Obama drew understandable cheers and applause from service members when he said he would take his time to deliberate before putting them in harm's way.

And while I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this -- and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan: I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way. I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. (Applause.) And if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt. Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, and the defined goals as well as the equipment and support that you need to get the job done. We are not going to have a situation in which you are not fully supported back here at home. That is a promise that I will always make to you. (Applause.)

The statement was meant as pushback against the president's critics, most recently former Vice President Dick Cheney, who have accused the president of taking too much time to decide on next steps in Afghanistan. The former vice president accused the president of "dithering" on the decision.

If their commander in chief had any doubts about the approach he's taking, the positive vocal response of the sailors and Marines to his vow to try and get the strategy right before deploying them could have only given him some reassurance.
Source? (For this article and your own assessment.)
 
#3
crabtastic said:
jumpinjarhead said:
This compares with a somewhat chillier although polite reception from Marines who were appeared to take a different view of the delay, especially in view of the news of 4 more Marine deaths as well as 10 other Americans.

Sailors Cheer Obama Vow To Take Time Before Sending Them To War

7:23 pm

October 26, 2009

By Frank James

Appearing at the the Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida on Monday, President Barack Obama drew understandable cheers and applause from service members when he said he would take his time to deliberate before putting them in harm's way.

And while I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this -- and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan: I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way. I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. (Applause.) And if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt. Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, and the defined goals as well as the equipment and support that you need to get the job done. We are not going to have a situation in which you are not fully supported back here at home. That is a promise that I will always make to you. (Applause.)

The statement was meant as pushback against the president's critics, most recently former Vice President Dick Cheney, who have accused the president of taking too much time to decide on next steps in Afghanistan. The former vice president accused the president of "dithering" on the decision.

If their commander in chief had any doubts about the approach he's taking, the positive vocal response of the sailors and Marines to his vow to try and get the strategy right before deploying them could have only given him some reassurance.
Source? (For this article and your own assessment.)
Sorry-forgot-edited to add it. My assessment came from a phone call from an officer there at Marine event.
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Can't argue with what Obama said, he pressed all the key rational and emotional drivers:
- Sending men into harm's way is a serious business
- There will be a strategy*
- We will back you up with the equipment you need
- (Unlike Vietnam) you will be supported on the home front

In short an impressive performance. I wonder what our troops would have said if Brown had come up with the above? Given the lack of equipment, numbers and strategy thus far in Britiain's Afghan effort, I would imagine it would be scattered applause at best.

*A unique concept, there Mr President. Well said.
 
#6
Andy_S said:
Can't argue with what Obama said, he pressed all the key rational and emotional drivers:
- Sending men into harm's way is a serious business
- There will be a strategy*
- We will back you up with the equipment you need
- (Unlike Vietnam) you will be supported on the home front

In short an impressive performance. I wonder what our troops would have said if Brown had come up with the above? Given the lack of equipment, numbers and strategy thus far in Britiain's Afghan effort, I would imagine it would be scattered applause at best.

*A unique concept, there Mr President. Well said.
Still just words at this point, but of course I am lately a skeptic by nature. Meanwhile McChrystal sits and waits.
 
#8
Here is some added confirmation of my assessment in the original post as to the mixed nature of the reception of the military audience to the remarks by the LEADER OF THE WORLD.

"The crowd here was enthusiastic in its reception of the president, though there were pockets of soldiers that appeared more reserved and gave only paltry applause. "

Linky
 
#9
Personally, I doubt the applause was as rapturous as the NPR blogger would have it or as chilly as JJ's mate reports. I wouldn't mind hearing that the brain trust is thinking long and hard about why I'm being sent on my 4th or 5th tour though.

The fact is that the McChrystal report is being fundamentally misrepresented in the media. He says himself that the focus shouldn't be on troop numbers:

Success is achievable, but it will not be attained simply by trying harder or "doubling down" on the previous strategy. Additional resources are required, but focusing on force or resource requirements misses the point entirely. The key take away from this assessment is the urgent need for a significant change to our strategy and the way that we think and operate.
Now, let's see if we can spot a theme here:

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (lSAF) requires a new strategy that is credible to, and sustainable by, the Afghans. This new strategy must also be properly resourced and executed through an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign that earns the support of the Afghan people and provides them with a secure environment.

To execute the strategy, we must grow and improve the effectiveness of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and elevate the importance of governance. We must also prioritize resources to those areas where the population is threatened, gain the initiative from the insurgency, and signal unwavering commitment to see it through to success. Finally, we must redefine the nature of the fight, clearly understand the impacts and importance of time, and change our operational culture...

Our strategy cannot be focused on seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces; our objective must be the population. In the struggle to gain the support ofthe people, every action we take must enable this effort. The population also represents a powerful actor that can and must be leveraged in this complex system. Gaining their support will require a better understanding of the people's choices and needs. However, progress is hindered by the dual threat of a resilient insurgency and a crisis of confidence in the government and the international coalition. To win their support, we must protect the people from both of these threats...

Prioritize responsive and accountable governance. We must assist in improving governance at all levels through both formal and traditional mechanisms.
In other words, ISAF isn't going to be able to do it by themselves, no matter how many resources get thrown into the mix. It's going to take an Afghan government that's capable of functioning. Now, I don't know if anyone's been paying attention, but hopes aren't that high for Karzai and Co. Might it not be an idea to see how this election run-off goes for starters? How likely is it that we can persuade him to deal with the corruption and the infighting? Is he capable of doing it? If not, then what? A lot of people are using the Vietnam analogy- it might be interesting to compare and contrast Karzai and Diem.

I know one thing: anyone in America with a uterus isn't going to be too jazzed about Biden's plan to focus on AQ and perhaps seek accommodation with the Taliban. (And Obama is going to have a hard time getting re-elected without them.)
 
#10
crabtastic said:
I wouldn't mind hearing that the brain trust is thinking long and hard about why I'm being sent on my 4th or 5th tour though.
To the extent that is true I would agree. As many pundits have, and IMHO accurately, opined, however, the hand-wringing among the LEADER OF THE WORLD and his coterie has much less to do with the substance of McChrystal's report than coming up with a political strategy that mollifies the extreme left base and still "honors" his own general's (supported already by the JCS and CENTCOM) request. This delay has gone long past that needed for the deliberative process needed for a decision on McChrystal's report itself.
 
#11
jumpinjarhead said:
crabtastic said:
I wouldn't mind hearing that the brain trust is thinking long and hard about why I'm being sent on my 4th or 5th tour though.
To the extent that is true I would agree. As many pundits have, and IMHO accurately, opined, however, the hand-wringing among the LEADER OF THE WORLD and his coterie has much less to do with the substance of McChrystal's report than coming up with a political strategy that mollifies the extreme left base and still "honors" his own general's (supported already by the JCS and CENTCOM) request. This delay has gone long past that needed for the deliberative process needed for a decision on McChrystal's report itself.
For the umpteenth time, Obama isn't playing to the extreme left. He's a pragmatic moderate. The Code Pink loons etc., which make up a not-very-powerful .01% of the democratic party. What he needs to worry about are the isolationists who've never liked the idea of nation building- i.e. the people who were hammering Clinton in the 90s over Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo- but were initially sold on the imperative in the aftermath of 9/11.

And I haven't seen any sensible pundits make the argument you make here. In the big scheme of things, McChrystal's report isn't the ball game. He points out that there are structural considerations that need to be considered over which the United States has very little, if any, control. Jumping in with both feet when those factors aren't in our favor is just foolhardy. Now, there's an election run-off in a couple of weeks, and even if he wins, Karzai might be in a position where if he's going to hang on, he's going to have to make some changes. Might it not be a good idea to see how that pans out? Furthermore, even the appearance that the US is willing to hang Karzai out to dry might be forcing his hand a bit. Did you stop to think of that?
 
#12
crabtastic said:
jumpinjarhead said:
crabtastic said:
I wouldn't mind hearing that the brain trust is thinking long and hard about why I'm being sent on my 4th or 5th tour though.
To the extent that is true I would agree. As many pundits have, and IMHO accurately, opined, however, the hand-wringing among the LEADER OF THE WORLD and his coterie has much less to do with the substance of McChrystal's report than coming up with a political strategy that mollifies the extreme left base and still "honors" his own general's (supported already by the JCS and CENTCOM) request. This delay has gone long past that needed for the deliberative process needed for a decision on McChrystal's report itself.
For the umpteenth time, Obama isn't playing to the extreme left. He's a pragmatic moderate. The Code Pink loons etc., which make up a not-very-powerful .01% of the democratic party. What he needs to worry about are the isolationists who've never liked the idea of nation building- i.e. the people who were hammering Clinton in the 90s over Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo- but were initially sold on the imperative in the aftermath of 9/11.

And I haven't seen any sensible pundits make the argument you make here.

No doubt you will find this source not "sensible" but this is one of a number I read of similar thrust.

http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=85082

In the big scheme of things, McChrystal's report isn't the ball game. He points out that there are structural considerations that need to be considered over which the United States has very little, if any, control. Jumping in with both feet when those factors aren't in our favor is just foolhardy. Now, there's an election run-off in a couple of weeks, and even if he wins, Karzai might be in a position where if he's going to hang on, he's going to have to make some changes. Might it not be a good idea to see how that pans out? Furthermore, even the appearance that the US is willing to hang Karzai out to dry might be forcing his hand a bit. Did you stop to think of that?
I suppose then , yet again, we differ.
 
#13
"… I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary…"


His attititude is a massive improvement over that mong Bush's
 
#14
Oil_Slick said:
"… I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary…"


His attititude is a massive improvement over that mong Bush's
Perhaps. We will no doubt see.
 
#15
jumpinjarhead said:
No doubt you will find this source not "sensible" but this is one of a number I read of similar thrust.[/b]
http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=85082
Really? You had to go all the way to an anonymous editorial from a South African business journal nobody's ever heard of to back up your case?

Doesn't that tell you something?

If you do have a genuine difference of opinion, then let's hear it. If you disagree with me, explain why. Where have I got this all wrong and why are you right?

Now, just to point out what a galactic fcuking mess this is, it's emerged this morning that Karzai's brother- one of the most crooked and corrupt people in possibly the most crooked and corrupt place on earth- has been on CIA's payroll for the last 8 years:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/world/asia/28intel.html?exprod=myyahoo

Now, Mr Colonel, Sir, would you mind telling me (and I'm sure the rest of the world wouldn't mind hearing your idea on this front either, because everyone else seems to be at a bit of a loss over this one) how all this gets fixed by just giving McChrystal those troops- when even McChrystal himself admits that troop numbers by themselves will not be enough?

Meanwhile- it appears that Obama's "dithering" may have led the EU and NATO allies to pull their fingers out of their hoops too:

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Afghanistan-Pakistan/idUSTRE59Q1O620091027

But that remains to be seen...
 
#16
crabtastic said:
jumpinjarhead said:
No doubt you will find this source not "sensible" but this is one of a number I read of similar thrust.[/b]
http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=85082
Really? You had to go all the way to an anonymous editorial from a South African business journal nobody's ever heard of to back up your case?

Doesn't that tell you something?

If you do have a genuine difference of opinion, then let's hear it. If you disagree with me, explain why. Where have I got this all wrong and why are you right?

Now, just to point out what a galactic fcuking mess this is, it's emerged this morning that Karzai's brother- one of the most crooked and corrupt people in possibly the most crooked and corrupt place on earth- has been on CIA's payroll for the last 8 years:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/28/world/asia/28intel.html?exprod=myyahoo

Now, Mr Colonel, Sir, would you mind telling me (and I'm sure the rest of the world wouldn't mind hearing your idea on this front either, because everyone else seems to be at a bit of a loss over this one) how all this gets fixed by just giving McChrystal those troops- when even McChrystal himself admits that troop numbers by themselves will not be enough?

Meanwhile- it appears that Obama's "dithering" may have led the EU and NATO allies to pull their fingers out of their hoops too:

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Afghanistan-Pakistan/idUSTRE59Q1O620091027

But that remains to be seen...
I am pressed for time but if you will note the link I sent (I was also then in a rush) was an article originally in the FT, but I seem to recall you have disdain for that publication as well.
 
#17
jumpinjarhead said:
Andy_S said:
Can't argue with what Obama said, he pressed all the key rational and emotional drivers:
- Sending men into harm's way is a serious business
- There will be a strategy*
- We will back you up with the equipment you need
- (Unlike Vietnam) you will be supported on the home front

In short an impressive performance. I wonder what our troops would have said if Brown had come up with the above? Given the lack of equipment, numbers and strategy thus far in Britiain's Afghan effort, I would imagine it would be scattered applause at best.

*A unique concept, there Mr President. Well said.
Still just words at this point, but of course I am lately a skeptic by nature. Meanwhile McChrystal sits and waits.
Been hanging around too many Brits on this site thats why!!! :wink:
 
#18
jumpinjarhead said:
I am pressed for time but if you will note the link I sent (I was also then in a rush) was an article originally in the FT, but I seem to recall you have disdain for that publication as well.
I do when it publishes b0llocks like that. Generally, though I stay away from editorials of any hue since I have the ability to draw my own conclusions and don't like having opinions spoon-fed to me

What should Obama do? No good options present themselves, but some are worse than others. A precipitate withdrawal — handing the country back to the Taliban — would be a disaster, above all for the Afghans.
The president, to his credit, has said this is out of the question.
But the danger with the other choices is that if they go wrong, abrupt withdrawal will follow anyway...

Whatever the administration decides, it must get ends and means in alignment, explain itself clearly, and, for heaven’s sake, make up its mind.
Well isn't that insightful? It's as if the author (whoever it might be) thinks that this isn't something that's crossed the minds of anyone in the administration. Afg isn't going to collapse this week or this month, so let's take a bit of time to take stock and figure out how we might be able to reverse 7 1/2 years of unprecedented fcukwittage that has led up to the current situation. The last guy was pretty decisive, if you recall, and look where that got us.

That is why resources adequate to the mission, however defined, are essential. The most important resource is the support of the public. Obama must choose a strategy and persist with it — and to persist with it he must also sell it.
Well, Duh! The trouble is figuring out, given the set of circumstances we're in, what that mission should be, what the costs might be and whether the voters will go along with it. The numpty who wrote the article thinks that war is just another political issue. It isn't. The political and material environment changes because, unlike healthcare, the environment the economy etc. there's an enemy out there and the enemy has a vote too- so there's a very good argument for maintaining a degree of flexibility.
 
#19
crabtastic said:
jumpinjarhead said:
I am pressed for time but if you will note the link I sent (I was also then in a rush) was an article originally in the FT, but I seem to recall you have disdain for that publication as well.
I do when it publishes b0llocks like that. Generally, though I stay away from editorials of any hue since I have the ability to draw my own conclusions and don't like having opinions spoon-fed to me

What should Obama do? No good options present themselves, but some are worse than others. A precipitate withdrawal — handing the country back to the Taliban — would be a disaster, above all for the Afghans.
The president, to his credit, has said this is out of the question.
But the danger with the other choices is that if they go wrong, abrupt withdrawal will follow anyway...

Whatever the administration decides, it must get ends and means in alignment, explain itself clearly, and, for heaven’s sake, make up its mind.
Well isn't that insightful? It's as if the author (whoever it might be) thinks that this isn't something that's crossed the minds of anyone in the administration. Afg isn't going to collapse this week or this month, so let's take a bit of time to take stock and figure out how we might be able to reverse 7 1/2 years of unprecedented fcukwittage that has led up to the current situation. The last guy was pretty decisive, if you recall, and look where that got us.

That is why resources adequate to the mission, however defined, are essential. The most important resource is the support of the public. Obama must choose a strategy and persist with it — and to persist with it he must also sell it.
Well, Duh! The trouble is figuring out, given the set of circumstances we're in, what that mission should be, what the costs might be and whether the voters will go along with it. The numpty who wrote the article thinks that war is just another political issue. It isn't. The political and material environment changes because, unlike healthcare, the environment the economy etc. there's an enemy out there and the enemy has a vote too- so there's a very good argument for maintaining a degree of flexibility.
I will try hereafter confine myself to your posts as all wise and all knowing and will not bother with any other sources as they are likely from inferior intellects anyway.
 
#20
Wow, I'm about to go get some popcorn ready for tonight's fight!

Sorry if I intrude on this thread, but it shares some vaguely similar issues to all other threads pertaining to Astan:

If I may offer three points:
- we do not so much need a strategy
- we need to define our goals and the commitment we're prepared to make relative to that (ends and means)
- the ways will be fairly obvious, once we decide the nature of the war we're fighting - just pick a manual
 

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