Obama Announcement: Live Thread

President Obama is speaking. VP Biden is right behind him.

He says relieving Gen McCrystal the right thing to do.

"War is bigger than any one man."

The Rolling Stone interview undermines the role of the military and erodes the trust that is necessary for our teams to work together.

There must be adherence to a strict code of conduct. There must be respect for the civilian command over the military.

He must do whatever is necessary to succeed in Afghanistan and defeat al Qaida. We cannot succeed without making this change.

Now is the time for all of us to come together.

We need to remember what this is all about. Our nation is at war. We face a tough task. We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban's momentum. We will apply relentless pressure. That's a strategy we agreed to last fall and are carrying out in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [More...]

This is a change in personnel but not in policy. Gen. Petraus has been part of this policy. He has my full confidence. I urge the Senate to confirm him as soon as possible.

This was a difficult decision. He's come to respect and admire McCrystal. He thanks him for his service and contribution. He looks forward to working with Pettaus.

No questions, he walks away.

My reaction: Short and to the point. He seemed angry. His tone was stern, firm and he was in control. He made the right call, both in relieving McCyrstal and in appointing Petraus.

< MSNBC: President Relieves McChrystal | Eliot Spitzer to Succeed Campbell Brown on CNN >
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    Lieberman very complimentary of Obama (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by magster on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:58:09 PM EST
    and up is down.  

    TEAM AMERICA likely fired too :) (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:10:56 PM EST

    I bet they confiscated (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:13:31 PM EST
    all their "stuff" shortly after the General left for the states.  Standing by the side of the road naked.

    Our office motto (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:48:57 PM EST
    You can say anything you want on your last day...because it will be your last day.

    I think it was the right thing to do for disciplinary reasons, but I also view it through the prism of what gets us out of Afghanistan faster. If I thought firing McC was going to slow that down I would be against it. But I think it will either be neutral or beneficial in that regard so I am all for it.

    I love that motto (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:59:14 PM EST
    Best when accompanied by (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:37:19 PM EST
    a mordant chuckle, as Daily Howler would say.

    "War is bigger than any one man." (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by ahazydelirium on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:51:36 PM EST
    but is it bigger than 6586 people?

    Speaking of war... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:22:19 PM EST
    and sorry to be off-topic, but I just saw this, and am feeling queasy (h/t DCBlogger at Corrente) :

    The Israeli Air Force recently unloaded military equipment at a Saudi Arabia base, a semi-official Iranian news agency claimed Wednesday, while a large American force has massed in Azerbaijan, which is on the northwest border of Iran.

    Both reports follow by less than a week the Pentagon's confirmation that an unusually large American fleet sailed through the Suez Canal Saturday. Several reports stated that an Israeli ship joined the armada.

    The Pentagon played down the news, saying the American maneuvers were routine. However, a report by Iran on Wednesday that it has enriched dozens of pounds of 17 per cent enriched uranium serves as a reminder that time is running out to stop Iran from being able to produce a nuclear weapon.

    Iran's Fars News Agency said the Israeli military aircraft landed 10 days ago at the Saudi base near the city of Tabuk, located in northwest Saudi Arabia, one of the closest areas in the oil kingdom to Iran.

    Fars said that the Tabuk base will be the central station for an Israeli attack on Iran. It quoted an Islamic news site that a commercial airline passenger said the airport in Tabuk was closed to all other traffic during the alleged Israeli landings. The passenger said that "no reasonable explanation" was given for shutting down the airport and those passengers were compensated financially and booked in four-star hotels.

    "The relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel have become the talk of the town," the passenger added. The chief authority in Tabuk, Prince Fahd ben Sultan, was reported be coordinating the cooperation with Israel.

    True?  Not true?  I have no idea.

    But I don't have a good feeling about it.


    Last Week or SO (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:32:31 PM EST
    The Israelis cleared a deal with the Saudis to use their airspace in order to attack Iran. This must be the follow up on their deal.

    Of course the Israelis deny that there is any deal with the Saudis regarding using their airspace.


    If Israel hits them (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:11:00 PM EST
    We will probably do what we did when they hit Syria, we will feign complete ignorance.  We gave them the bunker busters for this before Bush left office, and I think the Obama administation has sent them some too.

    Sort of makes me wonder about (none / 0) (#60)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:39:21 PM EST
    Lieberman blubbering about how the President must have the ability to shut down the internet when he wants to :)

    Doesn't look good (none / 0) (#83)
    by ricosuave on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 07:34:40 PM EST
    I don't think we can dismiss this as Iranians whipping up the usual public scares about an Israeli attack given the other incidents mentioned.  But it is probably just continued moves in the big chess game.  Iran will switch their radars to some different frequency which is not as threatening to our planes and then our ships will move to exercises off Yemen and then the Iranians can denounce Israel and the US at a rally and then Israel can tell the Turks how friendly they are with the Saudis who don't send blockade-running ships to Gaza and then the Saudis will turn their attention back to publicly killing adultresses and gays and we will all go back to worrying about marriage protocols in Sweden.



    "This is a change in personnel (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by robotalk on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:31:06 PM EST
    but not in policy."

    I'm disappointed.

    What will success look like?  What is the clear goal?

    Not necessarily so (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:01:42 PM EST
    General Petraeus has to be confirmed for the job.  All those questions you want asked can now be asked in Senate confirmation hearings and McCain wants to ask them but for different reasons than you want them asked.  What our President wants done in Afghanistan is going to have to be more clearly defined now in those hearings.  No free ride here.  No free lunch.  Firing McChrystal will end up more clearly defining the current WH will for Afghanistan, but Obama will now publicly own this war more than he wants to.  That publicity could gain you some of those changes in policy if you fight for them.  Bring your best credible arguments.  Obama doesn't fear his base, but his base can always change that if they want to :)

    Good Thing (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:31:42 PM EST
    What our President wants done in Afghanistan is going to have to be more clearly defined now in those hearings.  No free ride here.  No free lunch.  Firing McChrystal will end up more clearly defining the current WH will for Afghanistan

    And I certainly hope it is true. Most of Congress likes war because, statistically it gives them a better shot of staying in office. So I am not so sure that they will speak up for those of us who want to end this war.


    Then you should write things (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:44:28 PM EST
    to them and about them that causes them to care because you are a voter.  Now you are just making excuses squeaky.  I don't think it is healthy to only dedicate the self to cheerleading and dogging people who don't cheer loud enough for you.  But that's just me and my evil personality :)

    Yeah (none / 0) (#51)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:49:27 PM EST
    Then you should write things to them and about them that causes them to care because you are a voter.
    Got that covered, I have been doing that for years now, ever since desert storm. No one seems to be listening.

    I even voted against Hillary the second time around (06) when she was running against Tasani the anti war progressive candidate for NYS Senator. Of course he was a longshot, but I couldn't bring myself to support a candidate who was pro war in that race.


    Maybe you can write some critical (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:51:48 PM EST
    things that the rest of us can read here for a change about policies that you don't like and the people who can change them.  We aren't in uniform around here.

    Huh (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:03:53 PM EST
    I have consistently voiced criticism about war,  tough on crime laws and attitudes, criticized the right wing talking points and agendas. If you want to read some of the critical positions I have written about regarding policy, feel free to check the archives.

    I have been commenting here since the Valerie Plame affair. Jeralyn's excellent reporting on that case got me interested in commenting on her blog. I started following blogs shortly after 9/11. Only really commented here, save for half a dozen comments elsewhere.


    I think she means (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:05:22 PM EST
    Write a post - one that can be commented on and critiqued.

    I Am Not A Writer (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:08:03 PM EST
    But thanks for the interpretation of what MT meant, you are probably correct.

    I prefer to comment, but if I think of something to write about, TL will certainly be the place I would do it.


    I, for one, (none / 0) (#65)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:07:16 PM EST
    would sure look forward to it.

    An interjection (5.00 / 4) (#75)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:45:19 PM EST
    here is a "butt in" statement from myself: I believe it is very important to be able to critique our leaders and ourselves. And, I also believe that it is very important to be able to compliment when the accomplishment/action/deed/work is good. I am inspired, militarytracy, by your open and compassionate commentary about the military theatre. Some others, I would hope, could emulate your example. The learning point for me today is the strong positive response I had when learning that our President did meet my highest expectations on the McChrystal affair in moving decisively, with alacrity, and thoughtfully.

    I wouldn't bet money (none / 0) (#45)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:39:44 PM EST
    that CINCCENT will have to have Senate confirmation to fill one of his subordinate's commands.  Especially, if he retains his current position.

    He has to be confirmed (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:42:22 PM EST
    My mistake n/t (none / 0) (#98)
    by BTAL on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 08:25:29 AM EST
    I wish it were so (none / 0) (#84)
    by ricosuave on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 07:41:10 PM EST
    It is, indeed, a great opportunity for that kind of analysis by the Senate.  But I don't think it will happen.  They don't need an excuse to start asking those questions, just the will to do it--and that has been sadly lacking.  They could hold those types of hearings any day of the week (well...except Fridays...they don't really like to work on Fridays).

    Petraeus will sail through his hearings and be in Afghanistan in short order.  There will be a few embarassing questions from both sides designed to ding the other side, but I predict no serious debate in the Senate on our mission in Afghanistan.


    The goal is to protect (none / 0) (#80)
    by Rojas on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:51:44 PM EST
    the politicians from accountability. Anyone who speaks frankly is a threat.

    This was the right decision! (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by mexboy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:11:41 PM EST
    It sends a clear message to the military that he is in charge and they are to respect the office of the president and follow orders. And that is how it should be.

    The fact that he didn't let him resign but fired him in person makes his point stronger.

    Semantics (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:14:22 PM EST
    Other reports say Obama accepted his resignation.

    irrelevant really (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by CST on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:15:37 PM EST
    He's not being allowed back into Afghanistan.  He was fired.

    Mexboy's statement (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:22:50 PM EST
    was that he was not allowed to resign - I don't think that's clear from the reports - I think he was asked to resign, instead of being fired. (Which is what I meant by "semantics")  And while it doesn't make a difference for his career or public image, it might make a whole host of difference for things like his pension and his military record, so my guess is Obama let him resign his post.

    And FWIW - the Afghani government is sad to see him go.


    That is where it does make a (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:27:31 PM EST
    difference too, his benefits and military record.  Of course anyone who has ever been in the military and reads that he was once relieved of a General command will always gasp.

    He'll be fine (none / 0) (#36)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:29:41 PM EST
    He'll go underground for a few years, then write, teach, or end up as a military analyst for one of the cable news networks.  

    Probably huh? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:33:54 PM EST
    Cripes, you can be a uniformed lying felon and eventually get a cable news gig.  He is at least going to write a book before he dies, and I'll probably read it.  

    He might even end up (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:39:12 PM EST
    As some unofficial "military advisor" to some president - maybe even the current one.

    The Old Ollie North... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:52:37 PM EST
    from cocaine kingpin to Fox News War Correspondent... though some righties heads are spinning between anti-Obamaism "yeah for Stanley" and military-worshiping "boo for Stanley". Better to smuggle blow than to question the c-n-c in their eyes I guess:)

    I was thinking (none / 0) (#50)
    by CST on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:45:31 PM EST
    it was meant in terms of political optics for the pres not literally.

    Yes, he was allowed to resign, and yes, that matters a lot re- benefits.

    I know the Afghani gov't likes McChrystal - but that's why I think Petraeus is the best possible choice for a replacement.  As seemless as it gets.


    Politically (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:53:06 PM EST
    This won't mean anything as of tomorrow, or next week.  It's summer and people will long forget this - even if something really bad happens.  The only people who care about this story and it's affect on politics are the media and political junkies.  Military families may have some concerns, but since it seems the direction in Afghanistan will remain the same, it doesn't seem like it will affect them much.

    Ick (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:44:42 PM EST
    Another relic from the Bush era.


    The American people voted in a democratic congress in 2006 with a mandate to end the war in Iraq.

    We're still there.

    And Obama's comment, "War is bigger than any one man", is completely meaningless. Pure gobbledegook.

    I will not feel good about my country until these wars that Bush started are ended and everyone is back home. I hate predator drones. I can't believe Obama could joke about them.

    The resemblance to Bush gets stronger and stronger. Sicker and sicker.

    Move On suddenly removed their (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:46:26 PM EST
    "General Betray-us" web pages.  I guess he is not so bad after all.  

    Now (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:15:16 AM EST
    that's he's Obama's guy, not Bush's, it's OK with them I guess.

    So much for principle over party.

    Oh well, yesterday's betrayal is today's flag-waving op.


    Creepy. (4.25 / 4) (#32)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:18:37 PM EST
    It is so creepy watching Obama mouth the same vapid words that Bush did - it seems wrong coming out of his face instead of Shrub's. "Our nation is at war" "It is a tough task" "We will persist until we win" "Now is the time to break them".

    Whatever, George. I mean, Barack.

    Now, now (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:26:21 PM EST
    Jeb Bush tells Obama to stop blaming George.  Of course, George was still blaming Bill - 7 years after Bill left office, but we won't let things like inconsistencies muck up a good headline.

    Imagine though if you had family (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:30:34 PM EST
    members in Afghanistan right now and he came out and talked like a real weenie :)  I need something to lean on here man :)  It is his war, he does have people in harms way, no weenies allowed :)

    I know MT. (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:32:38 PM EST
    It's his war. I just don't know why.



    He is going to have to explain (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:34:50 PM EST
    that to you a little better getting Petraeus confirmed.

    He will never be able to explain it to me. (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:43:01 PM EST
    It's inexplicable why we are there.

    It is an understandable policy (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:33:54 PM EST
    Sending troops to Afghanistan made a lot more sense than sending them to Iraq.

    But the issue is now whether our continued presence makes sense....Should we declare victory and go home?  How can we fight for a corrupt Karzai government?

    On the other hand, how can we just hand over Afghanistan back to Al Qaeda?....It is quite frankly a mess....


    The one thing that I can't (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 08:16:16 AM EST
    understand though is how anybody but those of us in the military ever thought it was going to anything but this at this time?  All of us who had survived Iraq I guess went into the furnaces and were purged of fairytales alone.  At the very beginning of this Obama was either all in or needed to be all out.  He was told this and told this too and he refused to listen to it....actually wouldn't hear it and was still determined that some sort of magic protected him from that grave reality.  That magic never existed and it never was there for him and he is in the same place.......all in or all out.  The one thing you cannot do is simply stand there and be fascinated by the "process" when the process is a war.

    The status quo three years ago (none / 0) (#120)
    by MKS on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 02:26:44 PM EST
    seemed acceptable.  Many fewer casualties.  Al Qaeda on the run and in caves....Or ao it seemed.

    It appears that years of neglect have caught up with us.  I am trying to wrap my head around how we can actually "succeed" in Afghanistan--what that would look like and how we could achieve it.

    The stakes are very high.....And is there no middle ground between all in or all out?  Do we really need to control the whole country?  Could we not just focus on military strikes against Al Qaeda?  And if so, could we not do in Afghanistan what we are doing in Pakistan--air drone strikes with some limited on the gound forces to take out Al Qaeda military bases?


    Maybe to you. Not to me and many others. (none / 0) (#95)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 08:09:16 AM EST
    It is an understandable policy

    Oh (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:58:30 AM EST
    I see what you mean, MT...

    but the best he can do is "act" the part. There can be no substance behind it.

    He has no rational or reasonable grounds to keep selling this war and the war in Iraq to the American people, imho.

    So he can fire a general.
    That looks presidential.


    I'm listening to the news this morning (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 08:25:45 AM EST
    and it is very discouraging how much denial is out there and being fostered.  I think Obama needs to go home.  Obama is not capable of doing this.  Everybody is talking glowingly about Petraeus and they have no functioning memory I guess.  General McChrystal ran the black ops side of the surge (and there was one of those that Jesus....erm....I mean Petraeus was aware of and used) and made surgical assassinations during the Iraq surge and that was what actually tamped down the civil war factions while Petraeus worked his butt off building working relationships with Iraqis.  Nobody even seems to remember that McChrystal was an integral part of the "Petraeus" success in Iraq.  Seemingly David Petraeus walked on water all the way to Iraq and single handedly saved the world :)

    I'm not religious.... but (none / 0) (#118)
    by lentinel on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 10:38:29 AM EST
    "I think Obama needs to go home."

    Now that is something worth praying for.


    COIN V CT (none / 0) (#119)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:01:26 AM EST
    According to Obama's campaign speeches and ensuing talk after assuming POTUS, it appears that Obama gave McChrystal a chance at COIN, even though, the Public, his advisors and he himself favored a CT strategy:

    Obama backed McChrystal against Biden and Eikenberry, but threw McChrystal a curve ball by talking about beginning a troop withdrawal in summer of 2011 (thus taking a little piece of the Biden plan and inserting it awkwardly in the middle of Gen. McChrystal's years-long counter-insurgency struggle- and thus inevitably undermining the latter).

    This appears to be the heart of the conflict. It does not have to do with Iraq as much as it has to do with realizing that COIN is not going to work, and the troops are going to be out starting to withdraw a year from now. Sacking McChrystal is tantamount to giving up the grand plan of having long term occupation in Afghanistan.

    I think that this bodes well, and Obama made the right decision. We'll see, but I believe this is the beginning of the end of the longest war in US history aka the Afghanistan War.


    Guess you missed the G20 speech today (none / 0) (#121)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:07:24 AM EST
    I didn't think Petraeus was going to settle for ambiguity and save this President from his past of allowing fighting advisors in a theater of War if he was going to have to step in.  I don't know why General McChrystal put up with it and didn't lay all the cards on the table about the infighting and how it was destroying America's mission in Afghanistan.  Well yeah, I do, he thought he could beat them at their own game and be a General too.  Guess he found out different.  David Petraeus is not like that at all though, and he is stepping in and saving Obama's butt and Obama has said that we will be in Afghanistan for at least five years now.  He said that we will not be turning out the lights ahead of reality and we aren't leaving Afghanistan in 2011. We will making some sort of transition in 2011.  You let me know what that menas when you understand what it means kay?

    As to the heart of any matter, you are free to think as you choose.


    Whose Speech? (none / 0) (#122)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:19:27 AM EST
    Got links?

    President Obama's speech (none / 0) (#123)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:31:26 AM EST
    I don't have links, didn't watch it on the puter. Watched it on the tube.  He did a question answer session though and not many questions were on the G20, but Afghanistan and "getting out" starting in 2011 came up directly.  He was pretty specific in laying it out that nobody should think we are leaving in 2011.  Obama did a lot of saying one thing and doing something different to McChrystal.  If he intends to keep Petraeus on this job that won't be happening anymore because Petraeus doesn't play that way and coming in as a savior he doesn't have to either.  Petraeus didn't play that way with Bush either, but Bush couldn't afford to lose another General to being the idiot decider.  And I don't think that Obama is an idiot decider, but he must commit to what he wants to do in Afghanistan and I think he has now.

    After watching the speech my husband is talking about going back again after he is rested.  I don't have my happy face on.  I don't know how much faith I have in Obama now where war is concerned and his abilities to lead.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#124)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:38:44 AM EST
    As for Afghanistan, Obama repeated that July of 2011 will be the start of a process in which U.S. troops begin withdrawing and turning over security operations to the Afghans themselves. But he added that, at least economically and diplomatically, the U.S. will be helping Afghanistan for many years to come.

    I guess we will see. The Iraq withdrawal seems to be on schedule.


    That's the beauty of Obama and war (none / 0) (#125)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 11:15:57 AM EST
    The anti-war tries to read into it what they want and they are continuously upset when reality comes home to roost.  Did you realize that he upped the number of active duty combat troops in Afghanistan to over 90,000?  Did you notice the media didn't report on the increase of 20,000 more combat troops? Do you realize that that number does not necessarily include support troops?  Do you realize the contractor ratio to active duty soldier is 2 to 1.  That means he has at least 300,000 warm bodies in a war theater, and that number will reach 500,000.

    The sector that my husband (none / 0) (#126)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 11:21:44 AM EST
    worked in and will probably return to isn't even a reported deployed sector.  I predict those soldiers will not be leaving Afghanistan for ten years.

    Yes (none / 0) (#127)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 11:25:15 AM EST
    And it comes as no surprise. That is what he promised to do.  He repeatedly said that he would remove troops from Iraq, the wrong war, and move the action to Afghanistan, the right war.

    Not sure why anyone imagined anything different. Hillary was no different. It was the basic Democratic party platform.


    So squeak....it takes two years (none / 0) (#128)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 11:27:46 AM EST
    to put 500,000 warm bodies into a war theater and you think they'll all go home in 2011?  Priceless delusion.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#129)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 11:37:36 AM EST
    Sleepless night? Not sure what you think I have said, but never in a million years did I even suggest that the troops would be gone by 2011.

    Clearly I have said we'll see what happens with Obama's repeated statement that he will begin troop withdrawal in 2011.

    Wow. I guess you are fighting with someone, in your head.


    That is not what he said yesterday (none / 0) (#130)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 11:43:38 AM EST
    In his own words...there will be a transition :)  A transition from what to what he did not specify and he did that on purpose.  He isn't a stoopid man.  He's always known the importance of a good parsing to keep all of us inanely distracted :)  Now that you have experienced Obama speak on war are you really going to slap the word withdrawal on top of transition and just happily motor along?  Probably :)  Not that it matters a great deal to me.  I'm not in the thick of many issues but this war I am.  Your desire to believe certain things has little affect on my reality.

    Yes I Read (none / 0) (#131)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:06:11 PM EST
    The press conference Q and A. It was not a speech.

    As for Afghanistan, Obama repeated that July of 2011 will be the start of a process in which U.S. troops begin withdrawing and turning over security operations to the Afghans themselves. But he added that, at least economically and diplomatically, the U.S. will be helping Afghanistan for many years to come.

    And he repeated the same thing again. But I found the press conference and will listen.



    From the transcript (none / 0) (#132)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:30:20 PM EST
    Okay. Dan Lothian from CNN.

    Q Thank you, Mr. President. To follow up on Jackie's question, you talked about providing assistance in Afghanistan for some time to come. But given the challenges there and the history in Afghanistan, what makes you think that after declaring victory in Afghanistan, that it won't slide back into becoming a haven for terrorists?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't have a crystal ball. I think that right now the debate surrounding Afghanistan is presented as either we get up and leave immediately because there's no chance at a positive outcome, or we stay basically indefinitely and do "whatever it takes" for as long as it takes. And what I said last year I will repeat, which is we have a vital national interest in making sure that Afghanistan is not used as a base to launch terrorist attacks.

    It is true that al Qaeda right now is in Pakistan. And you'll often hear, why are we in Afghanistan when the terrorists are in Pakistan? Well, Al Qaeda is pinned down and has been weakened in part because they don't have the run of the territory. We would be less secure if you return to a situation that existed prior to 9/11, in which they had a government that was friendly to them and willing to house their operations. And I don't think anybody would dispute that.

    So, A, we've got a vital interest in the region. B, we do not expect because of our involvement in Afghanistan that the country is going to completely transform itself in a year or two years or five years. President Karzai does not expect that. The Afghan people don't expect that. Afghanistan has its own culture. It is a very proud culture. It has a lot of work to do with respect to development and it's going to have to find its own path.

    But I reject the notion that the Afghan people don't want some of the basic things that everybody wants - basic rule of law, a voice in governance, economic opportunity, basic physical security, electricity, roads, an ability to get a harvest to market and get a fair price for it without having to pay too many bribes in between. And I think we can make a difference, and the coalition can make a difference, in them meeting those aspirations even as we are meeting our security interests. Those two things are tied together.

    Now, there has been a lot of obsession around this whole issue of when do we leave. My focus right now is how do we make sure that what we're doing there is successful, given the incredible sacrifices that our young men and women are putting in. And we have set up a mechanism whereby we are going to do a review - and I've signaled very clearly that we're not going to just keep on doing things if they're not working - and that by next year we will begin a process of transition.

    That doesn't mean we suddenly turn off the lights and let the door close behind us. And if you look at what's happening in Iraq right now, we have met every deadline. By the way, there was a timetable in place, and we are - we have - by the end of August, will have removed all of our combat from Iraq. We will maintain a military presence there. We will maintain military-to-military cooperation. And we are providing them assistance, but we're meeting this deadline.


    And the truth about meeting the Iraq (none / 0) (#133)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:37:45 PM EST
    deadline from May 11th.  And if you think there is a huge difference between combat troops and troops there as a security force....YOU CRACK ME UP!

    BAGHDAD (AP) -- American commanders, worried about increased violence in the wake of Iraq's inconclusive elections, are now reconsidering the pace of a major troop pullout this summer, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

    The withdrawal of the first major wave of troops is expected to be delayed by about a month, the officials said. Waiting much longer could endanger President Barack Obama's goal of reducing the force level from 92,000 to 50,000 troops by Aug. 31.

    More than two months after parliamentary elections, the Iraqis have still not formed a new government, and militants aiming to exploit the void have carried out attacks like Monday's bombings and shootings that killed at least 119 people -- the country's bloodiest day of 2010.

    The threat has prompted military officials to look at keeping as many troops on the ground, for as long as possible, without missing the Aug. 31 deadline. A security agreement between the two nations requires American troops to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

    In Baghdad and Washington, U.S. officials say they remain committed to the deadline, which Obama has said he would extend only if Iraq's security deteriorates. Getting out of Iraq quickly and responsibly was among Obama's top campaign promises in 2008. Extending the deadline could be politically risky back home -- but so could anarchy and a bloodbath following a hasty retreat.

    Two senior administration officials said the White House is closely watching to see if the Aug. 31 date needs to be pushed back -- if only to ensure enough security forces are in place to prevent or respond to militant attacks. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the administration's internal discussions.

    So in essence you relabel combat troops a security force, and 50,000 U.S. troops with weapons and orders to use them when needed becomes a "withdrawal" in Obama speak.  And they are trying to figure out how to have as many of those "security forces" on the ground as they can possibly scrape together squeak.


    I can at least call this an Obama jobs program (none / 0) (#134)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:40:21 PM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#135)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 01:59:23 PM EST
    I saw the quotes, and listened to the cspan presser. I do not see how this is any different from anything Obama has said including his oft repeated statement that he intends to start withdrawal in 2011.

    Seems to me that Obama emphasis on sticking around, is two fold. He is at the G20 so he is making a pitch to get countries on board with the program. Poland, the largest non US force in Afghanistan has announced that its troops will be gone by 2012.

    Obama wants more support from the international community. He is even pitching India, which seems rather volatile considering Pakistan.

    The other point of his rhetoric is to assure Afghanistan that just because we switched Generals, that does not mean that we are not committed to Afghanistan long term. That worry was voiced by Afghani pols when McChrystal was sacked.

    And I have read that some Military chiefs, are off the record saying that we should speed up the withdrawal in Iraq. Because a non-combat force is impotent, and the Iraqis training wheels are already off.


    I know of NO one in the military (none / 0) (#136)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 02:09:20 PM EST
    arguing for the Iraq withdrawal to be sped up.  Haven't heard anything like that for a long time.

    P.S. so Obama is lying (none / 0) (#137)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 02:10:55 PM EST
    in order to get more Int'l support and to pull the wool over the eyes of Afghanis?

    Lying? (none / 0) (#138)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 03:53:20 PM EST
    No, he is emphasizing that he plans the US to be a long time ally of Afghanistan, and hoping that the US commitment will spur other countries to join in because the US commitment means long term stability.

    Of course no one knows what will happen, but for Obama to emphasize US commitment must be reassuring to others, including Afghanistan.


    Well You Weren't Listening (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:42:56 PM EST
    Or something:

    We did not finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We did not develop new capabilities to defeat a new enemy, or launch a comprehensive strategy to dry up the terrorists' base of support. We did not reaffirm our basic values, or secure our homeland.

    Instead, we got a color-coded politics of fear. Patriotism as the possession of one political party. The diplomacy of refusing to talk to other countries. A rigid 20th century ideology that insisted that the 21st century's stateless terrorism could be defeated through the invasion and occupation of a state. A deliberate strategy to misrepresent 9/11 to sell a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

    And so, a little more than a year after that bright September day, I was in the streets of Chicago again, this time speaking at a rally in opposition to war in Iraq. I did not oppose all wars, I said. I was a strong supporter of the war in Afghanistan. But I said I could not support "a dumb war, a rash war" in Iraq. I worried about a " U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences" in the heart of the Muslim world. I pleaded that we "finish the fight with bin Ladin and al Qaeda."....

    It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.

    The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ....

    I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will. [emphasis mine]

    Washington, DC | August 01, 2007

    Maybe you missed that one. And If you want I can provide you with the Hillary Clinton version. The Democrats and GOP, and most of the country are behind the Afghanistan war. Iraq, well that was BushCo' war, and not so popular.


    Still about the primaries :) (5.00 / 5) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:04:03 PM EST
    Squeak, even I know that the landscape is constantly changing and shifting where wars are concerned.  A three year old speech ain't cuttin it, and it never should.  We never lock onto war and then beat people up if they question us.  This is a democracy, not Nazi Germany. People have a right to question war every step of the way.  God help us if they don't because the soldiers don't ever train to quit fighting.  President Obama has to resell this now, that's how it goes.  And if people don't like what he has to say making his sales pitch we will all hear about it around here.  And I know that it is difficult to understand that their complaints aren't about the primaries, but they aren't.  They will be about our current state of war and their displeasure with it.

    No (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:14:40 PM EST
    Dr Molly said that Obama is sounding like Bush regarding the war. His position has not changed since the speech, there should be no surprise that Obama and almost every Democrat is behind the Afghanistan war.

    In fact, as much as I hate the war, the distinction that Obama made regarding his difference from Busha, and has followed through on, is that the Iraq war was absurd. We turned the world against us because of BushCo cowboy vengeance and dreams of Iraqi oil, based on lies.

    At least Obama's position has some integrity compared to Bush. And for the record I pointed out innumerable times that both Hillary and Obama were running on the exact same warmongering platform, no different from where we are today. IOW this campaign promise was going to be fulfilled no matter which Democrat becams POTUS.


    For the record I agree with Dr Molly (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:53:04 PM EST
    He sounded like he has a codpiece in too.  He is talking about a war effort that I support though, Dr. Molly does not support it therefore is not going to be impressed with war talk.  It is the same words though, just said by different people....okay....so Obama didn't say Axis of Evil or War on Terror.  But Obama did say he was the Decider using more words.  It was war talk though.

    Codpiece, LOL (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by robrecht on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 06:30:57 AM EST
    Good line about the codpiece!  But I'm not optimistic about achieving 'our objectives' in Afghanistan.  It seems nearly impossible to take up a war that Bush had neglected for so long.  If even the guy who started the war didn't really care about it ...  I never believed that Obama believed his own rhetoric about Afghanistan.  It was just the perfect position to appear like a strong military leader while criticizing Bush.  No Democrat could get elected without making that pretense.

    That's true (none / 0) (#103)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 09:13:03 AM EST
    But he broke every campaign promise I was excited about except this one.  Why keep this one?  Why is this so special?  And I'm fine if he breaks it now, I really am.  I think damage is all we are going to experience now.  I have no indication that President Obama is going to put an end to factions fighting for their own war strategies, and we are doomed otherwise.  I admit to knowing about the faction fighting, but the news didn't report on it much because Obama insists on loyalty and never revealing rifts.......and that's okay in a way, but it isn't a license to ignore them just because the press isn't aware of them.  This arguing is little more than deadly.  And I don't trust Obama to snap out of it, he doesn't snap out of it.

    Hmmm ... (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by robrecht on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 11:50:05 AM EST
    That's an interesting argument for presuming that he's actually sincere on this one promise.  Nope, I just snapped out of it.  Maybe he still thinks it's necessary for re-election.  With respectthe various strategies, I'm certainly no expert, but it seems like the anti-terrorist drone strategy has been having some success, ironically, at the expense of the counter insurgency strategy.  In other words, they're killing suspected terrorist but also civillians and the inhumanity of the tactic is making any effort to win the hearts and minds even less realistic.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  

    I don't see that at all (none / 0) (#111)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 12:41:20 PM EST
    We are extremely "responsible" for civilian death since McChrystal relieved McKiernan.  It is all well documented when it happens, and McChrystal would immediately be accountable to Karzai for it too and work to do whatever he could to eliminate it and deal with it.  He was immediately available to meet with Karzai whenever CaCa hit the fan. That is part of the mortar of their relationship.  Don't you find it telling that neither Holbrooke or Eikenberry are welcomed by tribal elders or leaders or Karzai or really anyone who is a native of Afghanistan?  But General McChrystal was and also General Petraeus is.  I'm not making it up....Holbrooke and Eikenberry who are supposedly are state department don't give a feck about the people of Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan KNOW IT!

    And you need to remember too (none / 0) (#112)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 01:01:42 PM EST
    Eikenberry wanted to be "Viceroy" of Afghanistan and he is chapped that NATO told him hell no and McChrystal was standing in the hell no group. What the hell do we need a Viceroy for if we aren't occupying?  You need to line more facts up and ignore more spin.  If the McChrystal plan is the plan that leads to "forever" in Afghanistan and the Biden, Holbrooke, Eikenberry plan leads to Afghan freedom as a nation much quicker and civilian safety today.........why the hell do they want one of them named "Viceroy"?  If we aren't occupying, don't we only need an Ambassador?  And why the hell do the actual people of Afghanistan hate Holbrooke and Eikenberry and not trust them as far as they can throw them? It is a time to look under the sheep's clothing and find the NeoCons around here.

    I thought viceroys were cigarettes (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by robrecht on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 02:26:41 PM EST
    You know so much more aqbout this than me, which is why I value your opinion.  I wonder if the drone attacks are more part of the fight in Pakistan and less so in Afghanistan???  What you say about a viceroy makes good sense, but maybe they had given up on Karzai's ability to unite the various factions.  I just don't like us trying to fix an unfixable mess.

    That's a rub too (none / 0) (#114)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 02:43:15 PM EST
    Can we work with Karzai?  Holbrooke tried to hold an election to get rid of him and that didn't work.  He does not seem workable on American paper when people who haven't even been to Afghanistan write him up for all of us, but Afghanistan is not the United States.  Is it possible that we can work within their system though and strengthen their justice system so that they can eventually take care of themselves and not be taken over by outright Mob Boss thugs?  Our military is working with their justice system now.  We pick up what we think is a bad guy, we collect evidence, that person goes before their existing courts.  Some soldiers are frustrated with this because you have to get some serious evidence and bad guys get strikes before they go to jail for a long time.  Just like what happens around here.  We are doing this right now, and McChrystal did have a relationship with Karzai he could work with.  Why can't anyone else?  What was so special about McChrystal?

    Thanks for the discussion (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by robrecht on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:55:36 PM EST
    That is part of the mortar of their relationship.  Don't you find it telling that neither Holbrooke or Eikenberry are welcomed by tribal elders or leaders or Karzai or really anyone who is a native of Afghanistan?  But General McChrystal was and also General Petraeus is.  ...  And why the hell do the actual people of Afghanistan hate Holbrooke and Eikenberry and not trust them as far as they can throw them? ...  We are doing this right now, and McChrystal did have a relationship with Karzai he could work with.  Why can't anyone else?  What was so special about McChrystal?

    I am in no way defending Holbrooke or Eikenberry or attacking McChrystal.  I think they're all doing their best in an impossible situation.  But I wouldn't be surprised if part of the reason that McChrystal and Petraeus might command more respect among Karzai and other Afghanis is that they command the troops that carry the guns, drive the tanks, and order the drone attacks, etc.  If I were living in an occupied country, I would bow and scrape a little more to the military occupiers than to the diplomats.

    Nonetheless, thanks for your insights, I certainly don't mean to discount them.  But it sounds like you too are not at all optimistic about a positive outcome from this mess.


    In all honesty (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 07:32:44 PM EST
    I don't think for one minute the Afghans show more respect to the military because our military has weapons.  So did the Soviets. I think it is because the military is continually reaching out to them, attempting to figure out how we can get them all to some common ground, focus on building their communities if and when we can, and they can never do that when they have to fear for their lives constantly from Taliban retaliations.

    They don't have to fear that from us.  Drone attacks aren't even happpening.  Drones are used for surveillance purposes.  Before a target is bombed it is hardly done indiscriminately, there has to be confirmed cause with several elements of leadership signing off on it first.  This just isn't the same war strategy that the Bush crew tried to use or felt vain enough to use, but sadly Holbrooke and Eikenberry would be doing indiscriminate bombings if their idea of a war strategy gets approved.

    With a tiny footprint in Afghanistan you don't have the luxury of holding fire, or you will be over run.  You'll have to bomb first and sort out who you killed later.

    As a military if we fail in this war, if we don't "settle" the argument, it will do a lot of damage to us all with so many seemingly dying for nothing on a certain level.  That is why the active duty miitary is so compelled to actually succeed.  Just blowing stuff up only hurts us, damages all of our worthwhile efforts.  We care if only because to not do so only leads to failure.  Holbrooke and Eikenberry only care to punch in and punch out.  A failure in Afghanistan doesn't mean the same thing to them, and based on how they have conducted themselves they are both more than willing to burn Afghanistan to the ground before coughing up a little bit of arrogance.  They haven't cared one wit that how they have conducted themselves has created nothing but rifts and discord, and their President isn't involved enough to call anyone on their shenanigans.


    They're all wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:43:12 AM EST
    Who cares if all the democrats are behind this war?

    They're all prisoners of the Bush mindset as much as the republicans.

    With respect to the wars, we had a Hobson's choice between McCain and Obama.


    Didn't you get the memo, lentinel? (none / 0) (#96)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 08:11:40 AM EST
    There's an enormous distinction between this smart war and that dumb war.


    (Of course that distinction is likely lost on the innocent people murdered every day.)


    It's instructive (none / 0) (#100)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 08:42:07 AM EST
    to actually listen to the way McCain talks about this.  He was on Van Susteren's program on Fox last night, and when she probed him rather carefully about the differences between Iraq and Afghanistan, he brushed her off and insisted there were no important differences and that what succeeded in Iraq could succeed in Afghanistan-- ie, surge plus COIN, shoring up the central government, etc.

    I frankly got a cold chill listening to him.  If Greta Van Susteren has a better handle on how the differences between the two countries affect the military strategy and possibilities of success than McCain, it's really pretty frightening.


    We need to go home now (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 08:53:07 AM EST
    Obama thinks he can half arse Afghanistan.  He is going down the same roads that one guy named Bush did, and he will not commit to specific goals and having everyone in getting there.  He had factions of advisors fighting around him about everything.  He sent a General into a theater of war with a COIN strategy and his civilian counterparts couldn't be more anti COIN and they undermined him every step of the way.  Then the whole things blows a gasket and Petraeus is called in, but nothing has changed other than that.  The military can't afford another stoopid American President, and neither can the world for that matter.  And if everyone wants the military to know their place, how come the military leadership is supposed to save them all the time when they've ALL fecked up?  They're just setting themselves up again for a military trying to take control because they have no clue what they want or what their mission is.  But the soldiers actually die hanging out with these buffoons and we are always going to be fighting with them about ways for all of us not to get killed while they wake up to realities they refuse to embrace.  It sucks, I'm tired of it.

    Tracy, I love your insights, and have (none / 0) (#104)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 09:33:39 AM EST
    found myself wanting to be a fly on the wall at your house when you and your husband bat these issues around; I feel like I could learn so much, and understand a lot more than I do.  Actually, I have found myself wanting him here to join some of these conversations!

    I feel like this Afghanistan engagement is like the toilet that won't stop running; someone jiggles the handle every now and again, takes the lid off the back of it, replaces the innards, and tries to get rough and tough with it, but it never gets fixed - the leak may slow, but before long, it is going full tilt.  Sadly, we seem to have gotten used to it, and even the McChrystal contretemps has failed to get Afghanistan back in the spotlight for the kind of scrutiny of the mission and the timeline as it should - it already feels to me like people are shrugging their shoulders and turning their attention to filling the swimming pool or booking their vacations.  Ho-hum.

    I don't see Obama going all in on this or anything that isn't an election where he is on the ballot; he's risk averse to a fare-thee-well, always choosing the aisle seat to get a clear path to the exits, and people keep making the mistake of thinking that because he chooses a different aisle seat on one issue than he did on another, that he's taking a stand - but all it ever really seems to mean is that someone or some entity with oceans of cash needs to be placated.

    Obama does not have a military mind, so he is - as most presidents are - captive to the military minds he has chosen to work with.  And while I don't have a problem with someone wanting to solve an Afghanistan puzzle that has broken and baffled everyone for centuries, this isn't like the health-whatever issue, or the financial-whatever issue, where a few bones can be thrown at the little people and victory declared. Not that he's doing that, exactly, but I have a sense that he doesn't appreciate that there is no magic wand for this particular problem - and David Petraeus isn't covered with magic fairy dust.

    Petraeus represents the steady hand, yes, but he also represents, I think, an extension of the timeline, more troops, more money, more jiggling of the toilet handle.

    Does Obama have anyone playing Devil's advocate, taking the we-need-to-just-get-out position?  Seems to me that if you've promised to get out, you need more people with that focus, than people still focused on "winning," but maybe my not-at-all-military mind truly doesn't know what it is talking about.


    I don't know if anyone around Obama (none / 0) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 10:13:01 AM EST
    has the opinion that leaving is an option.  In that respect, I get the impression that he is surrounded by dare I say Neocons.  I think Holbrooke is a NeoCon and Jones IS a NeoCon.  NeoCons just feed on war for some reason. Maybe Biden though.  Why does the one guy most likely to have a clue have to be the one who says the stupidest things in public when breaking ranks?  It's not fair.

    The Biden plan for staying is horrible though, it involves having a small force and just bombing everyone to keep the Taliban out of control.

    With a COIN strategy we are at the point where we will lose many many soldiers.  That's another thing that is driving me nuts this morning, all these news reports about the "McChrystal Strategy" getting soldiers killed because they only shoot back when they absolutely must.  How is it that everybody forgets that when Petraeus ended up taking over Iraq those were the rules of engagement for the soldiers interacting daily with Iraqis?  And soldiers had to go on foot patrol and intermingle all day every day.  Some soldiers were very upset and expressed it, but when a soldier in Afghanistan expresses that in the Rolling Stone article that's big news?  How is that big news in a COIN strategy at this stage?

    Iraqis could remember having some social order and security before we destroyed it.  Given the opportunity to have some of that again, they have begun to work in that direction.  We have no such social structure though in the memories of Afghanistan's citizens so COIN will take longer.  We had soldiers complaining a lot though about being in danger when Petraeus took over Iraq and we had the same ROE.  It was a hard bitter year and a lot of people died both American and Iraqi.

    I don't know if Obama realizes what you do, that if he goes with Petraeus he is probably in for the long haul or I don't know how he gets out of this one.

    Most left leaning, to include BTD sometimes, seems to think that a President can press a soldier in a waffle iron of impossibility and horror - and he is just supposed to preform like a machine.  It doesn't work that way and soldiers are tough people, but they are flesh and blood too.  With that attitude, if you actually need a result to work with, you will only break down your military, destroy moral, and damage if not destroy your mission.


    Oy, I just did the dumbest thing I could do (none / 0) (#106)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 10:37:25 AM EST
    I haven't been tortured enough this morning.  I wanted to go see what Booman had to say about all this, Lusty Obamaluver that he is :).  One of Booman's posters brings up the possibility that McChrystal (who does seem to be too smart to have actually blindly done this to himself) imploded his own career in order to get out of the jam and shed public light on the leadership problems in Afghanistan.  Heck, we even talked about that in this house.

    Booman's reply though is that in his opinion that can't be what happened here.  If McChrystal wanted out, he and his staff would have simply just pretended to be something that they weren't I guess until Chit Hit the Fan or something.  Gee, when a General isn't addressing the very real problems head on there is usually one thing that almost always happens.  People start dying like flies around him :)  And when a General in a war zone isn't willing to fall on a few swords for the men under him there is almost always something that begins to happen around them, people start dying like flies in their general vicinity :)

    I guess we know what sort of General Booman would have made.  Not like West Point was clawing over the top of Princeton trying to get to him :)


    And... (none / 0) (#91)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:54:13 AM EST
    And for the record I pointed out innumerable times that both Hillary and Obama were running on the exact same warmongering platform,

    Add to that list McCain.

    The only one, democrat or republican, openly against the continuation of the wars was Kucinich. And the left turned it's collective back on him.


    McCain (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 11:19:34 AM EST
    That is taken for granted, the GOP are the war party. You'd think that the Dems had more sense. And, evidentially, many did not listen or read very closely, as it was clear that our major contenders were clearly warmongers.

    Despite what Dr Molly and MT say, there was no difference in Obama's warmongering then, as there is now, imo. People were just not listening. War is popular among Americans, particularly when there are potential goodies to be had: the promise of cheap oil and gas.


    The wars (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:16:55 AM EST
    are just as dumb now as they were then.

    Ah (none / 0) (#68)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:17:28 PM EST
    The speech referenced where he supposedly was anti-war.  The one no one can seem to find.

    You (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:50:18 AM EST
    can find the anti-war speech if you google it.

    It's not too impressive.

    In fact, he begins by announcing to the crowd that he is not anti-war. If you read the speech you can see how true that is.

    I think it is also worth remembering that in 2006 Obama campaigned for Lieberman against Lamont - calling Lieberman someone with a "keen intellect" and calling upon the people of Connecticut to have the "good sense" to reelect him.

    So when it suited his ambition, the war in Iraq became less dumb.


    no (none / 0) (#71)
    by CST on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:31:08 PM EST
    check the date.

    This one is when he was running for president. Plenty of people watching.  Not the anti-Iraq speech.


    Yes (none / 0) (#74)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:35:39 PM EST
    Since he referred to that infamous, unfound speech:

    And so, a little more than a year after that bright September day, I was in the streets of Chicago again, this time speaking at a rally in opposition to war in Iraq

    Unfound? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:12:48 PM EST
    Well the famous speech is from 2002, here.

    That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
    Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power.... The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors...and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    Both sides... (none / 0) (#88)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 05:39:19 AM EST
    Typical Obama ---

    One the one hand - he puts out there that it's a dumb war... one sentence.

    On the other hand, he puts out there volumes and volumes about how evil Saddam is - playing into the ongoing fever to invade and depose him.

    Saddam was never the issue for the United States.
    He was our good buddy for awhile - until he got a little too greedy.
    He was only an issue for Bush. And Obama played right into his hands.


    Geez (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 11:27:29 AM EST
    Well you must hate the guy to put that spin on it. Sadaam tortured and killed people for fun, he was a true despot. You must have missed the part where Obama said:

    But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors...and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    Yeah, my position exactly. And, despite Sadaam's corrupt, and despicable behavior, his country had great hospitals, high infant mortality rate, the literacy rate was high, and standard of living high. Baghdad was a mecca for literature, intellectual life and was a thriving city...  that is until we put sanctions on Iraq. That was collective punishment if I have ever seen it. Talk about despicable, we sent them back 100 years.


    Telling the truth... (3.50 / 2) (#10)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:30:37 PM EST
    ... does have its downside at times.

    No doubt (none / 0) (#11)
    by Rojas on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:38:18 PM EST
    and when the whistle don't blow, the oil is  gonna flow.

    Huge Mistake (3.00 / 2) (#18)
    by hilts on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:01:50 PM EST
    Not surprising that Obama is putting his mammoth ego ahead of the national interest.  McChrystal got a raw deal and Obama is proving that he's in way over his head.

    How was McChrystals deal raw? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:03:10 PM EST
    The office of the Presidency is above one (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:12:59 PM EST
    man's ego. We cannot have a General and his staff undermining the civilian leaders of this country. I'm glad Obama removed him. It was, in the long term, the right thing to do.

    McChrystal is the fall guy (1.33 / 3) (#63)
    by hilts on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:59:31 PM EST
    Obama has made McChyrstal the fall guy for his own shortcomings and lack of preparedness to successfully prosecute this war.  Obama should do the honorable thing and not seek reelection in 2012.  Between his bungling of the Gulf Oil disaster, financial regulation, the Iraq and Afghan wars, etc, Obama has demonstrated that the job of President is way over his head and far beyond his limited capability.

    I know, Obama should never (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by observed on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:15:40 PM EST
    have invaded Iraq. That was SOO boneheaded. And the "Mission Accomplished" thing looks so dumb now.

    Obama vs. Bush (1.00 / 1) (#70)
    by hilts on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:22:16 PM EST

    Obama is demonstrating the same lack of competence as Bush.  This country deserves much better than Bush or Obama.  Both men are mediocrities and neither deserved to be elected President.


    If McChrystal is Obama's fall guy (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:31:19 PM EST
    as your magic eightball seems to indicate, he's got nobody to blame but McChrystal.  Not much of a General to have maneuvered his own arse into this situation :)  Jess sayin

    Chicken salad out of Chicken s*it (none / 0) (#2)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    Obama took charge here.

    But what about Afghanistan?  Is there really a way out?

    We have a corrupt government and a religiously based/nationalistic opposition to U.S. troops.  That is very big problem....

    Whether the general.. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:09:18 PM EST
    got sh*t-canned or not, I really couldn't care less.  It may be insubordination, but nothing like a military coup or anything....no big deal to anybody except the admin's pride and prestige as far as I can tell.

    Just tell us when we're leaving...everything else is just the same old drum-beating occupation-monger bullsh&t.  


    It was getting a bit coupish to me :) (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:11:40 PM EST
    Nah... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:14:56 PM EST
    Stanley was/is no more a threat to our way of life than the Taliban or AQ.  When any of the three lead an invasion with an occupying force I'll be happy to reconsider their "threat"...lol.

    They had already invaded Paris (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:16:24 PM EST
    Snap out of it dog

    Who invaded Paris? (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:42:50 PM EST
    The Germans?  I don't follow.

    Bad joke (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:44:02 PM EST
    A lot of the Rolling Stone interview took place in Paris :)

    Ahh.. (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:47:49 PM EST
    just because it flew right over my knuckle-head doesn't necessarily make it a bad joke:)

    I didn't think you were comparing the AQ/Taliban exacta threat to the US to the Nazi threat to Paris...you're way too smart:)


    Stan didn't do Paris and those dinners (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:17:30 PM EST
    according to his aid and Rolling Stone "its a gay thing"

    No, he did them while whining (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 11:18:10 AM EST
    It was still a gay thing.  He doesn't eat in places though that have candles on the tables  when it is of his own choice.  Remeber Dan, the people who eat willingly foo foo food at tables with candles on them almost never shoot you.  They never even remember to bring a gun and if you are hanging out there you are the last one to know you've been taken over :)

    Obama your rock! (none / 0) (#9)
    by Untold Story on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 01:17:45 PM EST
    Good for you - strong, determined and disciplined.  Thank you President Obama!

    Succeed in Afghanistan? (none / 0) (#22)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:24:49 PM EST
    Succeed -- really? How does one define success in that wretched, murderous, criminal endeavor?

    Yeah,McChrystal was way out of line and he's nuts and he needs to be stepped on, and hard--but pardon me if I can't really give a damn about who's in charge of yet another one of our imperial adventures abroad, or which war criminal is more at fault for the ongoing fiasco.

    We have... a religiously based/nationalistic opposition to U.S. troops.

    No we don't. We have an opposition to the fact that we invaded, and are slaughtering, a country that was no immediate threat to us whatsoever. And the opposition is justifiably based on the desire of the Afghani people for "our troops" to get the hell out of their country.

    If McChrystal goes, another bureaucrat of death will take his place. Until the militarist empire itself is rolled back and broken up, we will continue to see, month after month, year after year, "an amazing number of people who have never proven to be a threat" killed in cold blood -- such as the two little girls who were slaughtered last weekend in Khost.

    There they are, their bodies torn, their slender limbs twisted and broken, their lifeless eyes staring into eternal nothingness ... and we're supposed to care about the professional fortunes and political fates of the depraved, power-drunk thugs who run this brutal war machine?

    Yeah, that too.


    this is not Iraq (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by CST on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:32:20 PM EST
    the local opposition is different.  There is still opposition, but it's mostly due to the fact that the Taliban wants control back, and from the people who think the Taliban will win back control no matter what, so they better side with them.  

    It's a completely different beast from Iraq, and whether you think we should be there or not, pretending it's the same situation is not helpfull...


    court martials to come? (none / 0) (#26)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:58:28 PM EST
    Looks like some senators are very upset.... McChrystal court martial idea quickly shot down, but there is extreme anger with the loud mouthed smart @sses that he chose to surround himself with and court martial is considered a serious discussion.

    I would be interested to see a hearing where the reporter would give info on the stuff he said was worse which was off the record.  Never happen, bad for civilian moral.

    All the "bad-mouthing" was from (none / 0) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:02:44 PM EST
    "unidentified" sources. How are you going to figure who did or didn't say what?

    Code of conduct (none / 0) (#40)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:33:01 PM EST
    The conduct is not dependent on the reporter.  

    Simply ask McChrystal.  The reporter states that McChrystal was present for many of the discussions.  Plus.... it's obvious who works for McC, simply bring them in for testimony... also, it will be apparent who was 'on the bus'

    It's probably possible to subpeona general info from the reporter also and then question the specific, well known staff for details as to who, what etc.


    I guess anything's possible. (none / 0) (#73)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:32:35 PM EST
    If Congress has guts (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Cream City on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 05:54:00 PM EST
    it could be.  A big, big if. :-)

    But McCain, at least, is understandably irate about this.  (It must be difficult for many former POWs to hear of a general and his staff saying the sort of stuff that POWs would not say, even under torture.)  Still, I doubt there would be enough gumption in Congress to really take apart who said what to whom in which channel, etc., in separate hearings on this.  However, as MTracy has said here, it could mean an interesting undercurrent in the hearings to come for Petraeus to take over.


    If Congress has guts there will (1.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Rojas on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 07:07:40 PM EST
    be a review of the general's criticisms to see if they're on target.

    Deal done (none / 0) (#58)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:20:25 PM EST
    Here we go... MSNBC interpretation: it actually started out positive towards Obama but didn't end that way.  A deal was done... Petraeus got Obama to dump the timeline and give him more troops.  Petraeus has veto power.  Obama has ceded his authority to Petraeus.

    Priceless... McChrystal goes off the deep end to push a point about the timeline and gets everything he wants.  ha!  Way to take one for the team McChrystal.  Score!

    CNN: showed he's commander and chief.  A warning to his own team.  Gergen: best decision he's made as Pres. Lots of positive talk about Petraeus.

    Both networks are trying to spin his words as a threat to his own team.  I take it farther... knowing Obama's legal actions against leakers, I think his wording included the code of conduct of the enlisted personnel as well as the general.

    Let's be honest (none / 0) (#61)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:49:06 PM EST
    Almost the entirety of the military command needs to be let go, they are walking anachronisms. The US military as a whole needs to be gutted and remade. If that means we only have soldiers at home for a few years, all the better.

    Agree 100% (none / 0) (#102)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 09:04:23 AM EST
    The empire needs to be rolled back, our soldiers need to come home from ALL of our overseas bases, we need to scale down everything starting with our Department of "Defense."

    A pipe dream, I know. But hope and spare change is all I got left.