Afghanistan: The only thing Obama won’t talk about?

Some quick hits on Afghanistan:

  • Anyone watching the “60 Minutes” segment last night on Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, our top commander in Afghanistan for about 70 days now, must have been struck by this comment from McChrystal to reporter David Martin:

“I’ve talked to the president, since I’ve been here, once on a VTC [video teleconferece].”

Once in 70 days? In the 70 days leading up to a decision on whether to send tens of thousands more American soldiers to the country, or possibly to scale down the mission drastically? From a president who this week and last week alone has found time to attend Bill Clinton’s gabfest and to travel all the way to Denmark to make a pitch for Chicago’s 2016 Summer Olympics bid?

Unacceptable.

  • David Brooks makes the anti-George Will argument on Afghanistan, saying the costs of failure would be too high and that we’ve only just begun to implement a counterinsurgency strategy that stands a chance of succeeding.
  • There may some help on the horizon from, of all places, Europe: German voters elected a solidly center-right government yesterday, replacing the Social Democrats (who had their worst showing in six decades) with the pro-market Free Democrats. This Wall Street Journal story notes:

For the U.S. and other German allies, the election result will bring continuity in German foreign policy, including on Afghanistan, where the FDP is expected to continue to support German troops’ presence, while calling for an exit strategy in the medium term. Unlike the SPD, which has had a sometimes difficult relationship with the U.S., the FDP has long been a staunch proponent of Germany’s trans-Atlantic partnership.

Germany’s involvement in Afghanistan has always been limited — and unpopular. The Social Democrats were campaigning on a possible immediate withdrawal from the country. The election was decided more on economic issues, but its result will also allow Chancellor Angela Merkel to pursue a more muscular foreign policy.

NATO still needs to provide more help in Afghanistan, and the German election means there’s a chance help is on the way — or at least not on the way out.

60 comments Add your comment

booger

September 28th, 2009
12:19 pm

Obama is agenda driven, and Afghanistan is a distraction at best to him. What we do in Afghanistan will be driven not by national interest, but by politics.

After watching him in a recent interview where he sounded like he was intimately involved in our mission, it’s dissapointing, but not unexpected to learn he has only spoken with the commander one time, and not in person.

MichaelBob

September 28th, 2009
1:28 pm

While it is interesting that Obama hasn’t talked with McChrystal more than once, it doesn’t seem to me to be important. That is because, like Reagan, Obama is a delegator and uses the chain of command with Gates fully engaged. The extent of discussion on the issues with regard to the long term commitment there are necessary. McChrystal’s position is clear and the voices of McCain, Powel and otheres are being considered. A wise way forward before jumping in to this more deeply I think.

Bryan

September 28th, 2009
1:49 pm

yeah, i see this as an example of not micromanaging. he has a chain of command who is in charge of keeping up communications between his commanders and himself. maybe 70 days is quite a long time to have no direct dialogue, but i dont expect him to have one-on-ones more than 50 days between each other. that would be a month and a half. if the secretary of defense didn’t talk with the president for 70 days, THEN i would be truly worried.

Lost child

September 28th, 2009
1:55 pm

Enter your comments here Anyone ever talk to Bush? Keep telling half of a story, creditability dosen’t mean much to you. Same trick Fox noise uses, that where you got it from?

Kyle Wingfield

September 28th, 2009
2:12 pm

MichaelBob and Bryan: In normal times, I might be inclined to agree. But like I said, Obama is nearing a crucial decision on Afghanistan…you’d think he’d want at least a little more direct contact.

And Lost child: You don’t want to hold Obama to a higher standard than Bush?

Old Sarge

September 28th, 2009
2:20 pm

There are 5 layers of command between President Obama and Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Personally I think they are good men and are capable of doing their job, Sec Gates is doing a really good job. We do NOT need a President micro managing the war like LBJ did.

Spike

September 28th, 2009
2:33 pm

I’m more than “struck” by his comment I am angered. As a mother of a Soldier who was wounded in Iraq and is now pending deployment to Afghanistan (upon the President’s decision to send or not send more troops) it defies logic that someone no matter how many advisors he has can make an informed decision to send more of our troops into a situation that we “may” only have a chance to win without consulting more than once in 70 days. Perhaps our President can stand “objective” as it’s not his loved one in the line of fire! I firmy believe if it was one of his daughters his thought process would be different.

jconservative

September 28th, 2009
2:39 pm

The administration has to make a critical decision on Afghanistan.
McChrystal took 2 months to make his recommendation (in writing).
And his decision is just the military part of the equation. There is a lot more to this than just the military decision. There are foreign policy ramifications running to dozens of countries in the area, NATO & the P-5+1. All of that must be factored into the decision.

When you read McChrystal’s report (the public version) one of the major points he makes is what to do about the Afghanistan populace & a central government that is unpopular to a big part of that population.
McChrystal has no answers this point that he discusses at length.

A decision will be made on Afghanistan. I trust that wiser heads will prevail and a decision based on the input of many will be made. We do not need to rush into this.

Chris Broe

September 28th, 2009
2:53 pm

Very brave piece. Would the Born-Again Birther care to describe a mission for our army in Afghanistan? (something our army can base it’s strategy and tactics upon)

Last week you ridiculed global warming data because it was presented by a “German”; now you’re willing to accept Germans into your bosom as heartilly as W welcomed Khadafi when he pledged to quit nukes. (Khadafi picked a hell of a week to quit kissing up at the UN, eh?).

So, we’re supposed to endure the stooge-spectacle of a German military war council debating whether to surge: “Ist das nicht ein Quagmire?” (Yah! Das ist ein Quagmire!) “NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN!” (”Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah!)

“Ich bin ein Decider!”

David Brooks and his counter-insurgency surge solution: The question is, “Is the surge the correct solution to every military exigency?” (If only the Boers had thought of the surge. They coulda kicked out the British)!

Can Iraq and Afghanistan geo-politics be so similar? By continuing to keep this Afghanistan-Pakistan fuse lit, we are bound to stumble on the exact battle plan that will ignite world war three.

What’s wrong with W simply ordering the attack on Osama Bin Laden? Nothing. W did exactly that. Osama Bin Laden was captured, his Al Queda army destroyed, and all the Taliban with him were keeled to death. Oh wait, Cheney countermanded that order and had Rummy stand down. That made Cheney the defacto commander-in-chief, and split our executive branch into two parts, (which is something that nobody voted for). That’s right, freedom was a victim of treason in 2002. I forgot. Wow. My bad. Okay, nevermind. You win. Hope you’re happy.

Born-again Birthers: You’re the party born of treason, and tyranny.

BTW: We fight them over there because that’s where they’re hiding, not because we don’t want to fight them over here.

JF McNamara

September 28th, 2009
3:07 pm

I’m with most of the other commenters in that I don’t see the big deal.

He doesn’t have any military leadership experience, so I’d rather he be hands off. I’m sure he is briefed every day on what is happening there, and he understands whether or not they are meeting their objectives. The POTUS needs to get the overarching strategy right, be a good cheerleader, and continue to let the generals do their jobs. It’s a near certainty they know what to do in war better than he does.

Bob in Winder

September 28th, 2009
3:10 pm

if Obama talked to McChrystal more often he would be accused of running the war. Obama needs to find out what Bush did & do something different.

Joan

September 28th, 2009
4:01 pm

Obama is more interested in being a rock star, than being a president. He has more time for tv-face time, than sit down and work in the office time. I am a conservative, but I fail to see how anyone in their right mind can think we can “win” anything in the mid-east. A win will constitute getting out of there while we still have some national integrity. Let’s use the military to defend our own borders.

Chris Salzmann

September 28th, 2009
4:09 pm

Kyle Wingfield September 28th, 2009 2:12 pm SAID: MichaelBob and Bryan: In normal times, I might be inclined to agree. But like I said, Obama is nearing a crucial decision on Afghanistan…you’d think he’d want at least a little more direct contact.
CHRIS SAYS: As MichaelBob said in his 1:28, Obama delegates this kind of direct contact. I wouldn’t be surprised that the one conversation Obama had with the General, was after he read his report on Afghanistan. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Kyle Wingfield September 28th, 2009 2:12 pm SAID:And Lost child: You don’t want to hold Obama to a higher standard than Bush?
CHRIS SAYS: Kyle, aren’t we in this current Afghan mess in the first place BECAUSE of Bush??? We went into Afghanistan to find Bin Laden and after that failed, the Bush administration dropped the ball by letting it stagnate because they had other grand plans in Iraq which required far far more resources. The Taliban, once defeated, now have the momentum and the advantage. Now because of Iraq, I doubt the American public has the patience for another long bloody and drawn out campaign. Had we stayed and applied those Iraq bound resources in Afghanistan, we wouldn’t have this problem today. Frankly, the invasion and occupation of Iraq set us up for failure in Afghanistan.

Chris Salzmann

September 28th, 2009
4:16 pm

Joan September 28th, 2009 4:01 pm SAID: Obama is more interested in being a rock star, than being a president. He has more time for tv-face time, than sit down and work in the office time. I am a conservative, but I fail to see how anyone in their right mind can think we can “win” anything in the mid-east. A win will constitute getting out of there while we still have some national integrity. Let’s use the military to defend our own borders.

CHRIS SAYS: Joan, I don’t remember you here complaining when Bush went into Iraq. I remember that liberals like me who supported the Afghan campaign were called traitors and cowards when we saw right through Bush’s lies and excuses leading up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I’ll bet my next paycheck that you really believed all that BS when Bush and Cheney used to mention Iraq and 9/11 in the same sentence. I lost count of all the conservatives I met who were convinced that Iraq was responsible for 9/11.

JF McNamara

September 28th, 2009
4:23 pm

Joan said:

“Obama is more interested in being a rock star, than being a president. He has more time for tv-face time, than sit down and work in the office time.”

Not that we know his actual schedule to check this, but its ludicrous to think this especially when Air Force One is a flying office and Presidents generally work 16 (or more) hour days. He hasn’t really been on TV that much for non-political reasons. He’s in other countries for foreign affairs, holding press conferences to discuss the economy, doing Sunday morning shows and Leno to sell healthcare, and attending events for the United States like the G-8 summit. That’s seems like his job to me, and its pretty much what Bush did to a lesser degree.

What is he supposed to be doing? Pulling out a spreadsheet and doing the U.S. budget from scratch? Writing detailed, nuanced policy on healthcare? Would the CEO of any large organization do that?

Chris Salzmann

September 28th, 2009
4:34 pm

Joan September 28th, 2009 4:01 pm SAID: Obama is more interested in being a rock star, than being a president. He has more time for tv-face time, than sit down and work in the office time.

CHRIS SAYS: Forgot to mention this: GW Bush, inspite of 9/11 and wars on two fronts, took more vacation days than ANY other US President in history by a WIDE margin. During his 8 years, he spent a total of 487 days at Camp David and 490 days at his ranch. Any one of these numbers translates into 1.5 years EACH!!! We didn’t hear you complain them did we?

Chia Hair Plugs

September 28th, 2009
5:05 pm

“CHRIS SAYS: Forgot to mention this: GW Bush, inspite of 9/11 and wars on two fronts, took more vacation days than ANY other US President in history by a WIDE margin. During his 8 years, he spent a total of 487 days at Camp David and 490 days at his ranch. Any one of these numbers translates into 1.5 years EACH!!! We didn’t hear you complain them did we?’

Just like you liberal azzclowns protested the war the whole time Bush was in office. Not a peep now that Obozo is getting them killed. Hypocrite much?

Kyle Wingfield

September 28th, 2009
5:25 pm

Chia: Please don’t cut and paste entire articles onto this blog. You can include a link and quote a paragraph or two.

Chia Hair Plugs

September 28th, 2009
5:28 pm

Chris Salzmann

September 28th, 2009
5:30 pm

Chia Hair Plugs September 28th, 2009 5:05 pm SAYS: “CHRIS SAYS: Forgot to mention this: GW Bush, inspite of 9/11 and wars on two fronts, took more vacation days than ANY other US President in history by a WIDE margin. During his 8 years, he spent a total of 487 days at Camp David and 490 days at his ranch. Any one of these numbers translates into 1.5 years EACH!!! We didn’t hear you complain them did we?’

Just like you liberal azzclowns protested the war the whole time Bush was in office. Not a peep now that Obozo is getting them killed. Hypocrite much?

CHRIS SAYS: Actually Obama’s trying to fix the mess in Afghanistan that was created when Bush ignored it for over 7 years. Remember that or do you have amnesia among other (obvious) disorders? This war won’t turn around in 6 months. Frankly, most liberals have given Obama a 1-1.5 years to make headway in fixing this mess before we cut our loses.

Azzclowns??? How typical of conservatives that resort to name calling when they have nothing of substance to say.

Algonquin J. Calhoun

September 28th, 2009
5:37 pm

The president inherited all this mess from Bush. He’s dealing with it. Don’t try to lay the blame on him after eight months in office! It was eight years of an idiot that is to blame for this mess!

StevenCee

September 28th, 2009
5:43 pm

So, you know that Obama won’t talk about Afghanistan? How? Because a general has only spoken directly to him once in two months? Do you know how often Pres. Bush directly spoke to his general while he was in Iraq, or Afghanistan? Is it within the realm of possibility that Obama is receiving regular, if not daily, reports, that his advisors or cabinet members are speaking to the general, as well as other high-ranking soldiers there, and at the Pentagon?

That you base your accusation on the basis of one comment from the general, then jumping all on your own, to the conclusion that he’s simply ignoring what’s going on there, is boneheaded, and irresponsible “journalism” at it’s worst…..

Chia Hair Plugs.

September 28th, 2009
5:44 pm

“CHRIS SAYS: Actually Obama’s trying to fix the mess in Afghanistan that was created when Bush ignored it for over 7 years. Remember that or do you have amnesia among other (obvious) disorders? This war won’t turn around in 6 months. Frankly, most liberals have given Obama a 1-1.5 years to make headway in fixing this mess before we cut our loses.”

Obama has no military experience, he is getting troops killed now with no combat plan and no exit strategy. Gates will not even discuss a time line. Obama has been in office close to a year, and he has been slashing defense spending since he took office. marines pinned down a few weeks ago were even denied air cover, which resulted in dead marines. Since you have Bush Derangement Syndrome, I am sure you were one of the war protesters during the Bush administration. Liberals like yourself are rabid hypocrites. Why don’t you go over to Bookman’s blog with the rest of the progressive liberal america-haters.

Chia Hair Plugs

September 28th, 2009
5:53 pm

“Azzclowns??? How typical of conservatives that resort to name calling when they have nothing of substance to say.”

Chris Salzman, Sep.20, 2008
“So how would a clueless Governor be better equipped??? Do you have any specifics or is that just more clueless “happy talk” for mindless supporters grasping as reasons to support a clueless idiot (just like themselves”???”

http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/bookman/entries/2008/09/20/the_palinmccain_ticket.html

You should change your name to “hypocrite”.

Chia Hair Plugs

September 28th, 2009
6:01 pm

“The president inherited all this mess from Bush. He’s dealing with it. Don’t try to lay the blame on him after eight months in office! It was eight years of an idiot that is to blame for this mess!”

He said he would end the war. The ENTIRE RACE. Maybe you missed it. He has had ample time to end it. He has not. But, most libs are liars anyway, so I understand your support.

F. Sinkwich

September 28th, 2009
7:02 pm

Chairman O spends more time with David Letterman than he does with his commander in Afghanistan. Somehow that’s Bush’s fault.

He cancels missile defense in eastern Europe, then Iran fires some missiles. What’s his response? This time we reallllllllly mean we’ll threaten sanctions. The Kremlin laughs at this girly-man metrosexual doofus. So do the terrorists.

This is a hard-ass world and we’ve got kumbaya-man as our commander-in-chief. God help us.

Chris Salzmann

September 28th, 2009
7:03 pm

Chia Hair Plugs. September 28th, 2009 5:44 pm SAYS: Obama has no military experience, he is getting troops killed now with no combat plan and no exit strategy. Gates will not even discuss a time line. Obama has been in office close to a year, and he has been slashing defense spending since he took office. marines pinned down a few weeks ago were even denied air cover, which resulted in dead marines. Since you have Bush Derangement Syndrome, I am sure you were one of the war protesters during the Bush administration. Liberals like yourself are rabid hypocrites. Why don’t you go over to Bookman’s blog with the rest of the progressive liberal america-haters.

CHRIS SAYS: “liberal america-haters”"??? Where do you get your marching orders from? Ann Coulter? Anyone who worships a President who lied and deceived us into a war that cost us thousands of American lives and over a trillion dollars is deserving of that label. Take a long hard look in the mirror. Recognize yourself?

1)Defense spending cuts = All recommended by Defense Secretary Gates (also served with Bush, right?), and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. So, are they all america-haters too???

2)No Exit Strategy = Okay, since this war was started by Bush and his gang, what was their exit strategy? In Afghanistan, Obama’s stuck in a mess of Bush’s making. Even most sane conservatives admit to that. Obviously, you don’t fall in that category.

Quote: “I am sure you were one of the war protesters during the Bush administration”.Unquote Absolutely. I was for the Afghan war and against the Iraq war because unlike people like you, I saw through the Bush/Cheney lies and deceit concerning Iraq. But then, I’m better traveled and probably better educated than you. You probably also believed that Saddam had a hand in 9/11, right? I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

Qoute: “Obama has no military experience, he is getting troops killed now with no combat plan and no exit strategy” Unquote. And Bush had tons of military experience and exit strategies, right? At least, Obama isn’t guilty of getting us into a war based on lies and deceit, right?

Chris Salzmann

September 28th, 2009
7:14 pm

Chia Hair Plugs September 28th, 2009 5:53 pm SAID: QUOTE “Azzclowns??? How typical of conservatives that resort to name calling when they have nothing of substance to say.”
Chris Salzman, Sep.20, 2008 UNQUOTE
“So how would a clueless Governor be better equipped??? Do you have any specifics or is that just more clueless “happy talk” for mindless supporters grasping as reasons to support a clueless idiot (just like themselves”???”

http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/bookman/entries/2008/09/20/the_palinmccain_ticket.html

You should change your name to “hypocrite”.

CHRIS SAYS: ROFLMAO!!! You pulled something from something I said a year ago to prove a point? LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL. If “idiot” is the worst example of name calling you can pull then I’ll be happy to stand by it. Idiot certainly has more class than “azzclowns”. But then I had better upbringing than some.

jconservative

September 28th, 2009
7:15 pm

Joan

“I am a conservative, but I fail to see how anyone in their right mind can think we can “win” anything in the mid-east.”

Why did you say “I am a conservative but…”?

About 50 % of conservatives thought the Iraq war was a terrible mistake by Bush. About 50% of conservatives believe that nation building in Afghanistan is a terrible mistake. Afghanistan is not only an Islamic society, it is also a 12th century feudal economy. There will not be a western style democracy in that country.

P/S – And there is probably not going to be one in Iraq.

Chris Salzmann

September 28th, 2009
7:21 pm

Chia Hair Plugs September 28th, 2009 6:01 pm SAID:
QUOTE “The president inherited all this mess from Bush. He’s dealing with it. Don’t try to lay the blame on him after eight months in office! It was eight years of an idiot that is to blame for this mess!”UNQUOTE

He said he would end the war. The ENTIRE RACE. Maybe you missed it. He has had ample time to end it. He has not. But, most libs are liars anyway, so I understand your support.

CHRIS SAYS: As I recall, Obama said that he would set up a time table to withdraw troops from Iraq, and he’s in the process of drawing down forces there. Ample time to end it? He’s been President for 8 months. LMAO. And you conservatives accuse us of thinking Obama as a Messiah??? At least we aren’t that crazy!

Cutty

September 28th, 2009
10:16 pm

Wingfield would complain no matter what. You’d say he was micromanaging the the war if he had 30 meetings with McChrystal… Like most others on this 30+ comment blog (even tho most of the posts are from a chia pet)there is a chain of command that the President seems to be adhering to. He has that republican Secretary of Defense that is AND should be the point man in this situation. Didn’t LBJ have to personally approve of every bomb that was dropped in Vietnam? How did that work out?

How about you write a column on how our republican guv’nah thought it wise to go on a trade mission while a portion of the state was underwater, and Sam Olens thought it necessary to blame the President? Talk about unacceptable.

David Axelfraud

September 28th, 2009
10:29 pm

Obamalamadingdong doesn’t want to talk to his generals because it’s above his pay grade. Also, Obamalamadingdong is too busy giving speeches about how global warming is going to kill us all.

All while Iran builds nukes.

CHAINS WE CAN BELIEVE IN!!!!!

Shaneneeee Faneneeeeeee

September 29th, 2009
12:43 am

No time for this small issue, he has to go overseas to push the Olympics to choose Chicago for the Winter Games. He wants to help all his buddies in Chicago make money, this guy is as corrupt as the rest of them. Change, Change we are already sick of. Get to the polls in 2010 America and take the House and Senate advantage away from this nut. Then in 2012 vote for another change.

Left wing management

September 29th, 2009
1:08 am

Kyle Wingfield: “There may some help on the horizon from, of all places, Europe.”

This statement seems to reflect a rather simplistic view of the European continent. Now now, let’s not let Iraq war politics – cheese-eaters, and ‘we don’t do nuance’ – cloud our categories here over much. After all, as you point out, even Western Europe is liable from time to time to elect someone who bears more than a passing resemblance to a – gasp – conservative (even if a conservative from Paris or London would surely be viciously attacked by Hannity and others on your side as decadent pinko socialistic effetes – anyway, why dwell on minor details when there are cattle to herd into your camp, right?). Isn’t it odd though, when you think of it: now you have left-leaning governments in Europe while there’s a Republican in the White House, and then you have the Continent move center-right as the Americans elect a more leftward-leaning president. What’s going on here? Could it be some sort of mirroring or simple phase delay between the two areas?

[...] Imagine if President George W. Bush had this same record: At least 125 media interviews since taking office, playing golf almost every weekend, involving himself in a local Massachusetts dispute (elevating it to a matter of race and national prominence), making promos for television shows and flying off to Europe to lobby for Chicago to get the 2016 Olympics – however he has only talked to the head of the armed forces in Afghanistan only once in 70 days. [...]

Churchill's MOM

September 29th, 2009
8:28 am

Wingboy, you are not off to a very good start, hope you have a contract. You might want to ask Jim to help you out.

equilibrium

September 29th, 2009
8:32 am

A Commander in Chief that respects the chain of command? Oh, when will this long national nightmare end?

jim

September 29th, 2009
9:31 am

5 layers in the chain of command? “purple monkey dishwasher”

Steve0

September 29th, 2009
10:11 am

Read the General’s statement and think about it. He has talked to Obama once by VTC, but it does not preclude that he has talked to him on the phone, through email, or internal memos.

Kyle Wingfield, is either deliberately drawing a false conclusion, or he didn’t have the ability to imagine an alternate scenario from the one he wanted.

Why am I not surprised that the AJC has morons on its staff?

dc

September 29th, 2009
10:26 am

Do you want President Obama to skip the chain of command? Lt. General McChrystal’s boss is General David Petraeus, who reports to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. President Obama frequently meets with General Petraeus and SOD Gates.

Or is that too difficult for your tiny brains to understand?

HillView

September 29th, 2009
10:31 am

Wingfield you dingbat maybe it’s because unlike the Lt. General and you Obama understands the concept of Chain of Command. Thus he speaks to the lt. general’s 4 star boss and the guy in charge of the whole region GENERAL PETRAEUS!!!

Kyle Wingfield

September 29th, 2009
10:46 am

Steve0: I recommend you actually watch the video, which leaves no doubt that the general is talking about direct contact with the president. The only way to read it another way is to spin it.

And for all the people who keep talking about the chain of command: My original post, as well as my follow-up comment, makes clear that I consider this unacceptable because this is not a normal situation. The president is about to make a momentous decision about how to proceed in Afghanistan — either to put tens of thousands more soldiers’ lives at risk by increasing our presence there, or to drastically scale down a mission that he and other have described as the more important of our two wars.

I would expect him to want to hear from the man in charge on the ground there more than once. Not “30 meetings,” Cutty — surely you would agree that there is something in between once and 30 times. Wasn’t much of the criticism of Bush that he insulated himself by only listening to a small group of advisers? I’m not suggesting that he not listen to Gates or Petraeus, or that he should be having frequent direct discussions with McChrystal in “normal” times, i.e. times when such a huge decision isn’t imminent. But this is, I believe, an exception. Certainly, McChrystal doesn’t give the impression in that video that he thinks it’s just swell that he’s talked with the president once in 70 days.

Kyle Wingfield

September 29th, 2009
10:55 am

And Left-wing management: I just spent 4.5 years reporting from the seat of the European Union and of NATO, so excuse me for disagreeing with any suggestion that my view of Europe is “simplistic.” The fact is that the U.S. ambassador to NATO — in any U.S. administration, in practically any time period — has one primary job: trying to persuade our European allies to spend more on defense and help out more in military missions around the world. Take away the British, and there’s been very little help of any substance from other European powers in Afghanistan, because the French, the Germans and most others will only deploy troops to the safer areas of the country.

There’s little chance of most European nations spending more on defense because the cost of their social-welfare programs is too great. And unsustainably great, given their trends of slow economic and population growth — which imo helps to explain your observation about why so many of the countries over there have been electing center-right governments just when we’ve been moving to the left…

HillView

September 29th, 2009
11:12 am

Let’s be real if we were not being sentimental to the present we live in and gave it an objective look there is nothing extraordinary about the war in Afghanistan. If we are looking at it from a Historical perspective. We had twice as many soldiers killed in combat in the Philipine-American War in in 1898-1913 and almost 3 times as many total dead. I dare you to call that an extraordinary war.

Historically this as normal a war situation as it gets. We are dealing with nomads in hills. If you were talking about going into Iran or North Korea which are nuclear powers then maybe it would be extraordinary but don’t get caught up in the Media hyperbole. Just looking at real numbers Afghanistan is not that spectacular.

I am no fan of Obama but you are making a mountain out of a molehill. He gets daily briefings and and speaks to Gates every day and Petreaus every other day. I would hope McChrystal tells Petreaus everything we would want Obama to know. Otherwise what does that say about the lt. general.

Don’t get me wrong every life is precious but Afghanistan doesn’t rank anywhere near the deaths of the Mexican-American War, which only lasted 2 years, or any of the others in the top ten.

World War 2, Civil War, World War 1, Vietnam even extraordinary but how many people out there walk around calling the Korean War an extraordinary war? Ten times as many US soldiers died in the Korean war as have in Afghanistan in less time.

Be big enough to admit you are wrong on this topic and move on. It happens to the best of us.

DButcher

September 29th, 2009
11:13 am

Here’s an open question for many the conservative commenters on this site: How can you expect any respect from the general public when your arguments all include juvenile references to the President and anyone else with the gall to oppose your opinion? The continual “Chairman O, Obamalamadingdong and azzclown” comments would indicate that you spend far too much time coming up with creative insults and far too little time actually considering the issues you claim to care so much about.

HillView

September 29th, 2009
11:18 am

And don’t give me that Afghanistan/Taliba/Al Queda attacked us argument making this extraordinary because the Mexicans attacked us on US soil also in the Mexican American war

Kyle Wingfield

September 29th, 2009
11:18 am

DButcher: On this, you and I agree.

Kyle Wingfield

September 29th, 2009
11:25 am

HillView: What I meant was “normal” or “momentous” (”extraordinary” is your word, not mine) in relation to this particular war, not in the grand sweep of history. But I can only think that deciding to ramp up our troop presence significantly, or ramp it down significantly, is a very important decision — just as the surge in Iraq was, or a withdrawal would have been.

As for the importance of direct contact, we’ll just have to disagree.

HillView

September 29th, 2009
11:30 am

HillView

September 29th, 2009
11:33 am

You have the right to your opinion and I have the right to be right