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The Obnoxious American Says Bring the Troops Home

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Dear President Obama,

Back in 1990 when Saddam Hussein tried to expand his sphere of influence into Kuwait, I supported President George H. W. Bush’s decision to expel from Kuwait, and subsequently contain, Hussein’s forces within the no-fly zones. I supported President Bill Clinton in 1998 when he signed the Iraq Liberation Act, and then bombed Hussein back into submission after Saddam got a little testy (and no, it wasn’t ‘wag the dog’). After September 11th, 2001, I was in full support of President George W. Bush sending our troops into Afghanistan to take out Al Qaeda and remove the Taliban from power. I never believed Saddam Hussein was connected to the events on 9/11, and the WMD argument never really moved me. Yet, after witnessing a similar lawlessness in the Middle East reach across the oceans to send towers tumbling in New York, and after nearly 13 years of Hussein toying with U.N. inspections and the no-fly zone, as well as three American presidents, in 2003 I fully supported the war in Iraq. And to this day I still do.

So with that understanding of my perspective, realize that it isn’t easy for me to say this, but Mr. President, send the troops home now. Send the troops in Afghanistan home. Send the troops in Iraq home. Please, send them home now; don’t let another American soldier die if you can help it.

It’s not that I don’t think we could win. Our military, our soldiers, are the finest in the world. Their skill, experience and tactical ability are more than apt to complete the job. Moreover, when you entered office, success in these two wars was within our grasp. With all of the talk about the bad things you “inherited” when you were elected, you also inherited a war in Iraq that was ours to lose and a relatively straight forward, though perhaps more difficult endeavor in Afghanistan. This was low hanging fruit, a parting gift from George, and someone with your intellect and charisma could have completed the job. You would have been able to take the credit for bringing peace back to our country and theirs, and given the Democratic Party as a whole, some real national security bonafides to hang their hat on.

What’s funny is that one of the few positions you held during your campaign that I couldn’t argue with was your stance on the “good” war in Afghanistan. That and your statements about finally capturing Osama Bin Laden. Earlier this year when you came out with your Afghanistan strategy, it was one of the few moments in your presidency where I found myself in agreement with your policies. But like so much of your campaign happy talk, this wasn’t a position held by conviction but rather political calculation shifting with the winds. And instead of taking the reigns and ensuring success in at least Afghanistan if not also Iraq, you pontificated and deliberated for ten months, letting success slip.

I’ll be the first to say that Bush made many mistakes in his handling of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, among other things. But amidst all of the theories around why Bush went to war (oil, Haliburton, to avenge his father), and all of the questions around whether we had the right to pre-emptively invade another country, one thing no one could ever question was whether Bush believed in the mission, or whether he wanted to win. He wanted to win badly. Cheney wanted to win so much it scared people. Can the same be said for you?

I got my first taste of your convictions when right after getting elected, you pledged, without a plan and with no pressing need, to close the terrorist holding facility at Guantanamo Bay. With the economy in shambles and all of the other issues facing America at the time, this wasn’t necessary. It was pure politics on your part. The first of many moves not based on what’s best for the country, but always good for party. A continuation of your campaign whose main feature was repudiating Bush. But it quickly became evident why Bush put the terrorists there. Perhaps the ole Texas bumpkin had his reasons after all, and there were many; we didn’t want them on our soil, no one else wanted them either, and some of these dangerous enemies of our country would inevitably go free if not kept at Gitmo. To this day, despite your continued insistence to close Gitmo, your plan is about as dead as Greg Craig’s White House career.

Your administration’s next shining moment was when Homeland Security, under the new leadership of Janet Napolitano, released a report raising concerns about home grown right wing terrorists. Not only did this move trivialize the real threats that our country actually faces, but it divided our nation in a way that perhaps you didn’t understand. Despite what some commenters say, I’m a pretty moderate guy, yet I felt like you were talking about me. And changing the name of terrorist attacks to “man caused disasters” and the War on Terror to “Overseas Contingency Operations?” Well, that’s just stupid and unserious from an administration that campaigned on being smart and nuanced.

That you’d even suggest investigating CIA operatives who helped keep us safe for 8 years after we were attacked is incomprehensible. But it was the way you came out and said there wouldn’t be an investigation only for your Attorney General to turn around and say the opposite which is what really challenged my trust. I mean really? Let’s put the bald faced dishonesty by proxy of your AG aside for a minute. Any thought about the future impacts of this? Do you even want to chance demoralizing your own intelligence agency in the midst of two wars, merely to settle a political score? You’ve also opened a door; in 8, or possibly 4 years it may be your administration that’s the subject of a political kangaroo court. Why?

Your treatment of the very General you hired to win in Afghanistan is an outrage, and let’s face it, You’ve dithered. You’ve dithered hard. If our wars could be won with dithering the troops would be home for their ticker tape parade and I’d be planning my next vacation in Babylon. But wars are won with heart, conviction, and good strategy. You have none of these, and although you’ve not made a decision on what to do in Afghanistan, you’re lack of a decision has already let our enemy know the truth – that you are not committed to win. And if you aren’t winning a war, you’re losing it. Our enemies by contrast aren’t looking for “off ramps.” They know that you can’t vote present on fighting war.

From the terrorist attacks at Fort Hood, to the amount of attention given to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, it seems like identity and gender politics, and political correctness seem to be as important, if not more important than the actual function of the military, which is to keep this nation safe. And this latest idiotic gesture of the 9/11 hijackers, previously in a hole in Cuba, “finally [facing] justice” by trying them in New York City? Irrespective of the increased danger and inconvenience that average New Yorkers who already had to live the nightmare of 9/11 will have to bear? Irrespective of the fact that the supreme court found military tribunals more than appropriate? Irrespective of the fact that these terrorists were not captured in the U.S., not citizens, not captured by police, their evidence not processed by a crime scene unit and not following a typical civilian chain of custody, and with no Miranda rights? Irrespective of the fact that some were water-boarded? Irrespective of the fact that now, as with all Americans who face our civil criminal justice system, these animals are now considered innocent until such time they are proven guilty? For real?

The decision to hold these trials in New York is so flawed, so poorly thought out that it’s incomprehensible. This is the worst decision you’ve made, and ten months in, I’d expect some improvement in your decision making capabilities. The attacks on 9/11 weren’t directed toward an individual or group, but rather to the entire nation. One of the targets was a major center of business, the other the headquarters of our military, the Pentagon. Had flight 93 made it to the terrorists destination, our White House would have been the third target – that’s two out of three targets representing our government. These attacks were not mere crimes but an acts of war carried out on our country by a foreign enemy.

This isn’t about rule of law either, because the tribunals, which have been employed throughout American history, were found by the Supreme Court to be lawful and appropriate. Meanwhile our justice system has its shortcomings – criminals get off on technicalities and innocent people go to jail for technicalities every day. Our civil justice system, which isn’t on trial, simply isn’t designed for dealing with war crimes. There’s the issue of classified information, which if provided to the defense as part of discovery could be leaked to terrorists. That is if it isn’t dismissed outright because of how it was obtained. The only way to get around these issues is to twist the already twisted legal system, setting precedents that erode all of our rights. And does this now mean that soldiers fighting in Afghanistan need to also worry about reading the enemy their Miranda rights and collecting all evidence with tweezers and ziplocks while RPGs are fired at them? Yes, the first WTC bombers were tried by the FBI and look how well that worked out for the nation. At the end of the day, the reasons to do this are few and political; the reasons not to do this are many and relate to the safety of the nation and the people of New York. And it was precisely this type of thinking that preceded our getting attacked on 9/11 in the first place.

You’re not serious about winning the wars in either Afghanistan or Iraq, you don’t really understand that we face a dangerous enemy, and you’ve quite literally even denied that there is a war on terror at all. You lack the will, conviction, experience, and even leadership required to responsibly end the wars we are involved in. The very worst thing you could do right now is send more troops into harms way only to continue your politicizing and dithering while more troops die in a conflict that we lost when Americans went to the ballot box last November. Send the troops home now Mr. President.

Regards,

The Obnoxious American

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About The Obnoxious American

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    If the matter of Afghanistan was as simple as most conservatives believe it to be, it would never have been a problem.

    But President Obama knows it isn’t so simple. Even in 2007 he was warning the Bush administration to stop ignoring Afghanistan, that there was a gathering danger to our troops there. He was keeping up with what was going on in Pakistan then, and he’s doing so now.

    But he doesn’t dare leave Afghanistan as it is, and he knows it. Why? Pakistan. Because if nuclear-armed Pakistan falls to Islamic extremists, then we’ve got a problem. So for now, Afghanistan is a Gordian knot – it’s not good to stay, but it’s downright dangerous to leave. Here’s some more of what President Obama has to consider – and any retired military man worth his salt will tell you that having sufficient troops is crucial, it doesn’t matter how many troops you send in if you don’t take care of the political, diplomatic, religious, cultural, and logistical challenges. Just ask the Soviets – they sent in a lot more than we did, remember?

    I do wish that the conservatives would try something completely new and give constructive solutions on how to address problems instead of simply throwing criticisms and accusations….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    You know, Glenn, that an intelligent veteran like you should emerge as an apologist for a Harvard-bred idiot who doesn’t know shit about military strategy or geo-politics is painful to see.

    If you are going to prosecute a war, you do not sit on your stupid ass – you act. Even if your actions are about giving the impressions of actively doing something while really doing nothing. You put on really good show for the soldiers who are stranded 10,000 miles away fighting the meanest bastards on earth, the Pashtun. It should not fall to the “milspice” to have to keep the soldiers’ morale up. Your president obviously does not understand this basic point. His education at Harvard was a waste of money. His education in thievery and skullduggery in Chicago was equally a waste of money. It takes more than some slick Chicago thief with connections to deal with the Pashtun – who are, I might add, Children of Israel!

    Obama’s foreign policy has been all about kissing ass – as if kissing ass ever gets you anything except shit on your lips. His military policy has followed the suit of his foreign policy – kissing ass. The Persians have already kicked sand in the fool’s eyes, so has Putin, and it is only a matter of time before even the Saudis and Japs do the same.

    Now, truth be told, that doesn’t bother me that much. The American government, and its Arab shit-eating State Department, deserve sand kicked in their eyes. From my point of view, you deserve the humiliation you are getting, you deserve the snickers the folks overseas make when talking about America. If my own leaders haven’t got the balls to laugh you all in the face and tell you all to go to hell, a bunch of other foreigners do, and it’s about time.

    But it should bother you. You and your country are getting dissed daily – not because you are cowards – far be it from me to ever suggest that the American fighting man is a coward – but because your commander-in-chief has a yellow streak a foot wide going down his back and his belly. It ain’t the black skin the foreigners see when they see Obama – not any more. It’s the yellow belly. Even Netanyahu is not as much of a coward as Obama, and Netanyahu is known for his cowardice.

    If it weren’t for the fact that every possible replacement for Obama would be worse (for you), I would suggest that Obama surrender himself to the Federal marshal in Illinois and confess to all the shit that he and Emanuel Rahm pulled off together there with Hot Rod Blagojevich.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    You’ve been around longer than I have, and I have no knowledge of your level of military experience or of military history.

    But I do know this – war is a bad, terrible thing…and those who glory in it, lust for it, thirst for it either have little or no experience in it, or are evil or fools or both.

    Look how much blood and treasure we’ve spilt in Iraq – thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and millions of displaced Iraqis…all for an illegal war fought on false pretenses.

    All those innocent lives ended or ruined…because OUR conservative politicians were SO eager to invade that they did so on FALSE pretenses. This wasn’t the first time a nation invaded another on false pretenses – I’d say who did it, but I’d get accused of “violating Godwin’s Law” again.

    Ruvy, for every American general or admiral you can find who looked forward to the Iraqi war, I can point out at least a dozen who thought it was wrong. Some of the most vocal anti-war congressmen are former military officers who served in Iraq.

    AND THEN look at the military experience of those who were most eager to invade Iraq: Bush was in a ’boutique’ squadron from which he was often AWOL and never left the country; Cheney never served; Tancredo never served; Rush Limbaugh never served; and as far as I know, none of them have any family members who did.

    Except for Bush, whose dad DID serve and honorably so…and who didn’t want to invade Iraq (even though he HAD cause to do so) because he didn’t have an exit strategy.

    There’s a term for those who served little or none at all, yet are SO eager to send the nation to war…but I won’t mention that, either, because Dave is offended at that particular epithet.

    A Civil War general once said the only thing half so bad as a battle lost, is a battle won.

    That’s why, if I were responsible for 300M men, women, and children, if ‘kissing ass’ and literally getting feces on my lips was what needed to be done to make my people safer, more secure, and better off…well, then, I’ll pucker up with a smile!

    Why? Because it’s only feces, and it’s not innocent blood.

    War is a LAST resort, Ruvy – and ‘LAST resort’ means it comes after you’ve tried everything else…including ‘kissing ass’.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    But President Obama knows it isn’t so simple.

    So why doesn’t he demonstate that knowledge, plus some awareness of the history of the region and past invasions there and get the hell out?

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    If you’d read the paragraph AFTER the quote you pasted from reply #1, you’d see the explanation of why we can’t just ‘up and leave’.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Glenn,

    War IS evil, war IS a last resort. I agree with you on that. But it’s besides the point. So are your comments about Bush.

    We are in the middle of two wars right now. So questioning whether to go to war is moot. The question is how to end these wars in a way that is favorable for us and the people of these two nations. Obama isn’t committed to that question, but rather what’s good for the Democratic ideals.

  • Baronius

    Obnox, I agree with a lot of your article. Do you really think that the phrases “man caused disasters” and “overseas contingency operations” reflect bad thinking? To me, the bad thinking reflects bad thinking, but the change in terminology is trivial. I’ve read Orwell. I know the power of misusing language. Maybe I’m being naive here, but I don’t think the change in wording was an attempt to undermine the mission.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Glenn,

    I never said your country should go to war against Iraq in 2003; Saddam Hussein moved his WMD’s to Syria in January 2003 where they remain now. I have been saying for some time now that you have been utter fools to waste your money in the Tigris and the Euphrates. Don’t mistake me for some damned neo-con or chicken hawk. If I talk about fighting an enemy, I’m ready and willing to do so, unfit as I am.

    What I did say was that your country should eliminate the pustule causing the hell you are going through, the regime in Riyadh. But kicking Wahhabi butt is not on American radar. Kissing it is. And the stinking SOB’s kill you in response. They send their stinkin’ bastards to blow up buildings, they have fanatics killing soldiers on your bases – and you obviously don’t five a damn – you got your pension. Why should you care? So, if you want your “president” to pucker up and lick the shit out the Arabs’ assholes with a smile, fine.

    BUT LET HIM SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT ISRAEL AND KEEP HIS DAMNED NOSE OF MY COUNTRY’S AFFAIRS BEFORE ONE OF US DECIDES THAT A NUKE ON WASHINGTON WOULD NOT BE A BAD IDEA.

    I don’t want to hear any crap about how WE should pucker up and kiss Arab assholes from you either. Every damned day they let us know exactly how much they want peace. They try to kill our soldiers, our women and our children. And frankly, if the bastards want death and they come here to deal it out, that is exactly what they will get – DEATH.

    NOT BECAUSE I GLORY IN WAR BUT BECAUSE I’LL BE DAMNED IF ANY ARAB SAVAGE – OR HIS AMERICAN OR EUROPEAN ENABLERS AND SYMPATHISERS – WILL DRIVE ME FROM MY HOME.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Baronius,

    Perhaps you are right, but if so then what was the purpose of the name change? I can’t think of any at all. The term “terrorism” shouldn’t offend anyone, Muslim or otherwise, who isn’t a terrorist.

    For me, so much of this presidency seems to be about the orwellian use of language (see “Health CHOICES Commisioner,” “American Reinvestment and Recovery Act,” use of strawmen, repeating distortions so often that people think they are true, etc). Pretty much whatever the Obama admin names or says something, you can be sure it’s actually doing or meaning the exact opposite. People are starting to come around though, as the ole Lincoln quote says, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Ruvy,

    never have I agreed with you more.

    Glenn,

    Please let’s save the Chicken Hawk talk. I didn’t serve along with about 99% of my countrymen. My choice (and actually one that I regret now, though I am very happy with how my life turned out). I still have just as much right to my opinion as any other American. How we prosecute our wars should be based on what’s good for the country and you don’t have to serve to know that Obama hasn’t been doing his job.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Obama has not [yet] rejected Gen. McChrystal’s advice. From all reports, he has asked for plausible exit strategies to be added to each of the possible choices. Commentators like George Will and Bob Woodward [neither of them flaming liberals] have strongly praised the President’s insistence on careful deliberations before deciding on a policy.

    I had hopes that OA might at last have written an interesting article. But after a provocative Page 1, the other 4 [interminable] pages offer more [much more] of the same “I hate everything Barack Obama says and stands for” rhetoric that passes for conservative thinking on this site. No nuance, and only empty lip service to reasonableness — including additional absurd claims of being “moderate.”

    This is a subject rich in possibilities for discussion and give-and-take, but the article is just propaganda, which tends to kill discussion, not promote it.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Handyguy

    I’m not going to rehash what’s in the article but I already talk about this whole McChrystal stuff. Go ahead and give it a read. I know you agreed with the first page (where I say send the troops home – a generally liberal view). And of course, when I explain the reasoning – that Obama isn’t committed to winning – that’s where yo find it to be “interminable.” You’re about as predictable as Obama’s use of the word “uh” is.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    What it really comes down to is that there are no good choices. A conservative president would [in fact, did] face that same fact. Whether we escalate or slog on or withdraw, the potential for disaster is pretty high.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Exactly the same handwringing by those opposed to Bush when he was pushing for the surge. I do agree that war is hell and there are no good choices but Obama’s lack of a choice IS in effect making a choice to lose. And at that point let’s get our American brothers and sisters back home stat.

    Tony Blankley published a similar article to mine today, and his closing words:

    “[T]this president and this White House do not have it in them to lead our troops to victory in Afghanistan. So they shouldn’t try. The price will be high for whatever foreign policy failures we will endure in the next three years. Let’s not add to that price the pointless murder of our finest young troops in a war their leader does not believe in.

    Bring them home. We’ll need them later.”

    Totally agree at this point.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    We’ve already been there 8 years. Save some of your cheap ‘no guts to do what it takes to win’ rhetoric for the previous administration, which had 7 years to accomplish something and didn’t.

    Commentators as different from each other [not to mention different from Pres. Obama and myself] as George Will and Dave Nalle say, the war may well be unwinnable. This differs from your [and Blankley’s] nastier, more partisan interpretation that Obama is a coward, with the implication that John McCain could win this war, by gum, but a damn soft-on-terrorism liberal never could.

    “Doing what it takes” — hmm, a nice, vague set of words that sounds all patriotic and macho. But what would it take? Do you actually think you know?

  • Baronius

    I suspect that the best thing we can do is to slog on. Afghanistan is in the first few decades of a civil war that’s going to last, what, at least a hundred years. We’re not going to end that war, but we’re committed to making sure that the worst faction doesn’t regain power. That said, President Obama is conveying weakness with his continued reconsiderations.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Handyguy,

    What does the past 8 years have to do with it? We’re at war now and since Obama’s took office, we’re not really fighting it. And this was a campaign platform that he ran on.

    It’s not a nasty interpretation on my part – it’s a documented FACT that Obama, after hiring McChrystal for the job and after coming out months ago with a plan is now heavily dithering on what he actually wants to do. Morale is down, enemies emboldened. What’s next? He caves and sends more troops to mollify the center? That’s not something any American regardless of party should agree with. He isn’t committed to winning and anyone except the most indoctrinated Obamabot can see that, including our military, the Taliban and Al Qaeda for starters.

    Love how you try to make this about me though. I don’t have to have an answer for how to win a war in order to see that Obama is losing this war.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Your assessment that Obama is ‘not committed to winning’ is based only on your own politics, not on facts. What about last March’s troop increase?

    McChrystal’s recommendations were only officially presented less than two months ago. Troop increases are not going to happen this calendar year, regardless.

    So your assessment is not based on Obama’s policies, but on your perception of him as “soft.” You can’t prove that, so you take cheap shots. Over and over.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Handyguy,

    It’s interesting that you’d characterize my retelling of Obama’s own actions as “cheap shots.”

    I perceive Obama as soft for the same reason as Baronius and most other Americans do – because he has consistently projected weakness and although he is the commander in chief, has failed to take command of the wars that are now under his watch. You can attack me all you like but it won’t change the truth about Obama and his lack of handling of the war.

    Baronius,

    Perhaps you’re right, but even in that case, I think you can agree we shouldn’t send anymore troops there, and possibly reduce the footprint considerably?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    Please let’s save the Chicken Hawk talk. I didn’t serve along with about 99% of my countrymen. My choice (and actually one that I regret now, though I am very happy with how my life turned out). I still have just as much right to my opinion as any other American. How we prosecute our wars should be based on what’s good for the country and you don’t have to serve to know that Obama hasn’t been doing his job.

    I don’t castigate anyone for not serving – after all, the American people are not there to serve the military, but the military is there to serve the American people.

    But I DO castigate those who have never served, who are overly eager to send our troops into combat. The Bush administration was chock-full of people who were by definition chickenhawks.

    The chickenhawks of the Rabid Right (and for Dave, I’m referring to politicians and pundits and not anyone on BC) are howling that President Obama is dithering and unable to decide on how best to prosecute the war, and is therefore weak and unworthy of being Commander-in-Chief.

    But what these chickenhawks do NOT realize is that the president has FAR more to consider than just the military aspects of the war – remember the military maxim: “Amateurs talk firepower, but professionals talk logistics”…

    …and to this retired military man and amateur historian, it’s refreshing to see a president who’s actually taking his time to think about how best to solve a problem in months what the previous administration couldn’t solve after several years.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, Obama IS dithering and it matters not at all. We should never have gone into Afghanistan and he will not find a solution to Afghanistan because there isn’t one. Anything he does is a mistake and he can’t change that.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    History would agree with you if our goal was to stay there and keep it as the puppet state as the last administration apparently meant.

    But I don’t think that’s Obama’s goal. I think his goal is supporting Pakistan. Why? Because if we pull out all of a sudden, then al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their allies no longer have to run and hide from the Pakistani Army as they are doing right now.

    Sure, they can hide in the mess we’ve made of Afghanistan…but they can’t rest too easily because they’re being hunted there, too.

    I suspect that once nuclear-armed Pakistan is stable enough in Obama’s eyes, that we’ll begin to pull out of Afghanistan and not a moment earlier.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Did Dave actually oppose the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan? I’m just asking, because it would surprise me if so.

    I was on the fence then, and I’m on it now. Call this ‘dithering,’ or just ambivalence and the awareness that there’s no happy ending in the cards. And there wouldn’t be if John McCain or Fred Thompson or Ron Paul were president either.

  • Mark

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Dave. We lost that war (and more) as soon as Congress passed the AUMF to overthrow the Taliban.

  • Mark

    Handyguy, Dave’s analysis a few years back was that the only possibly valid reason to invade Afghanistan was to engage the Iranians.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “And there wouldn’t be if John McCain or Fred Thompson or Ron Paul were president either.”

    I think you’re wrong Handy (well maybe not about Ron Paul :>). Confidence counts for more than you’re admitting. This isn’t some inherited condition or an immovable object. We’re figting a war against an enemy that can be intimidated, that is if the U.S. is able to intimidate. Intimidation affects the enemies behavior, the cold war was basicaly won by intimidation (thank god Obama wasn’t president at the time). WWII was decided by intimidation – the whole purpose dropping nukes was to intimidate. Obama can’t seem to intimidate, and he’s shown no interst in doing so.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Confidence counts

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were confident to the point of arrogance, hubris. Where did that get us? Oh, sorry, I forgot. That’s “irrelevant.” Bet you supported them at the time, though, didn’t you?

    Obama can’t seem to intimidate, and he’s shown no interst in doing so.

    Again, a political assessment, not based on evidence. How do you get your info on what the enemy thinks? What’s changed in the Taliban’s behavior from a year ago that makes you so confident in this assertion?

    You pretend to be so sure of what you’re saying. I don’t buy it.

  • Lumpy

    Damn really. Imagine If Ron Paul were president now. No war no bailouts, a sound dollar and a booming economy. Imagine.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Yes, dream on, Lumpy. For one thing, Paul would have had to be elected — impossible. So painting his imaginary presidency as a utopia is meaningless.

    And this thread is about Afghanistan. Paul would have withdrawn troops from Iraq and Afghanistan very quickly. And I seriously doubt you agree with him on that. So, no paradise?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Lumpy –

    Imagine If Ron Paul were president now. No war no bailouts, a sound dollar and a booming economy. Imagine.

    Yeah – (1) a much stronger al-Qaeda and Taliban who would then be able to freely use Afghanistan as a base to destabilize and take over nuclear-armed Pakistan, (2) No more Chrysler or GM, 2 million more unemployed as a result, and a much stronger market share for foreign-made cars, (3) a much WEAKER dollar since a major portion of what’s left of our manufacturing base (the automakers) would be down to just Ford, and (4) an economic “lost decade”…which is exactly what the Japanese refer to the 90’s after they tried to use austerity measures to recover from their recession/bubble at the end of the 80’s.

    Lumpy, libertarian rhetoric sounds nice…but in the real world, it doesn’t work – and that’s PRECISELY what history proves.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Well recognizing the mess of a campaign McCain ran, and the mess the Obama presidency has been, it’s quite possible that Ron Paul really was the best choice back in 2008. Oh well.

    “Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were confident to the point of arrogance, hubris. Where did that get us? Oh,”

    Loll that’s a pretty flawed argument my friend. I said confidence, not hubris – is one not possible without the other? Just because you assert that Bush did confidence incorrectly, doesn’t mean an American president shouldn’t show confidence to our enemies.

    And in any case, isn’t Obama displaying a hubris of his own, dismissing the counsel of the generals he’s hired to supposedly win these conflicts?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If and when he does dismiss the general’s advice, you can say that and we can argue about it. A lot of us are glad we have a president who takes the time to get sufficient information and advice and a comprehensive discussion and weighing of options, to try to do something right.

    If Kennedy had taken the generals’ advice, Vietnam might have gotten worse even earlier than it did. FDR and Truman and Lincoln overruled generals too.

    You reduce this very complex issue to: Obama does things I disagree with and I’m pissed off. It’s not an argument that actually carries much weight.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “…who takes the time to get sufficient information and advice and a comprehensive discussion and weighing…”

    He’s had a year to think about this, after campaigning on winning this war. He’s been in office for 10 months. Taking this long IS dismissing the generals, and it will make their jobs that much harder going forward.

    “If Kennedy had taken the generals’ advice, Vietnam might have gotten worse even earlier than it did. FDR and Truman and Lincoln overruled generals too. “

    Unfortunately Obama is no Kennedy, FDR, Truman or Lincoln.

    “You reduce this very complex issue to: Obama does things I disagree with and I’m pissed off. It’s not an argument that actually carries much weight.”

    The article is 5 pages long. If this is reduced then I’d hate to see the long version. Seriously though, coming from a guy who basically admitted to not reading past the first page, thanks for your opinion you think my article says.

  • The Obnoxious American

    ** thanks for your opinion on what you think my article says.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Time to come to OA’s defense, sort of, at least on Afghanistan. There are times when one can only do nothing but tread water. If Obama fears the Pashtun as much as he does, he should tread water, and do nothing. He hasn’t the money to do anything else but withdraw.

    BUT

    He cannot afford to appear as if he is treading water. Appearing to do nothing, appearing to merely tread water in what can become a crisis in a matter of a day’s march, kills morale on the front.

    And that, more than anything else is what Obama has done. He projects indecisiveness, the dire need to have mommy come and hold him by the hand and tell him not to pee in his pants, and to hurry to the urinal like a big boy, and pull down his zipper. But mommy is long dead, and is not going to come to help him.

    And the idiot is peeing in his pants and all over you Americans, obnoxious or not. And the stink of his urine can be smelled all over the world!

    As for me, I don’t mind. Ultimately, G-d will protect me and mine from the Taliban – by destroying them in entirety and returning the Pashtun to the Pashtunwali and finally to the Torah. Ultimately, the Pashtun, the Children of Israel driven out of their homes by NebuHanetzár 2,800 years ago, will come to reunite with their brothers to the west – us Jews.

    I’m a man of faith, and stake my life on the words of the Prophets of G-d – the prophet Ezekiel, in this case, a man who was already proven right in a number of ways.

    The rest of you – who do not have faith – flop like fish in a world of lies and deception – ha’olám ha’shéqer. It is no wonder you cannot figure out what is transpiring before you!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    Unfortunately Obama is no Kennedy, FDR, Truman or Lincoln.

    But the times these presidents overruled the generals were largely unknown until after their presidencies wee done, with the exception of Truman who was roundly castigated by the Republicans for firing General McArthur for publicly supporting a nuclear strike against North Korea.

    THAT, sir, is why generals DON’T SET policy – they IMPLEMENT policy as directed by higher authority, albeit in a more forceful way than other branches of the government.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “THAT, sir, is why generals DON’T SET policy – they IMPLEMENT policy as directed by higher authority, albeit in a more forceful way than other branches of the government.”

    I’m sure you realized the opening you gave me when you pressed the “Post Comment” button.

    Obama hasn’t directed policy. He asked McChrystal to make a policy recommendation, which he did. Obama didn’t like it and asked for more policy recommendations. He hasn’t been a higher authority but rather turning up his nose at whatever his generals recommend without providing much guidance on his own. Similar to how he’s handled every piece of legislation (let others come up with it). The same pattern can be seen with the stimulus, health care, etc. He isn’t providing guidance or vision. He’s merely letting his minions in the congress come up with the vision, then using his speechifying skills to sell it. Nothing more. Not what I’d call leadership.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    No, I gave you no such opening. General McChrystal overstepped his bounds by making his request public, and I can promise you he’s been talked to about that in private.

    I am not a great leader…but after a career in the military and a lifetime of studying history, I do know a thing or two about leadership. So let’s look at YOUR judgment on Obama’s leadership –

    On the stimulus, as I’ve pointed out several times on BC already, we went from the bottoming-out of the stock market to recovery from recession (even according to Fox News) in RECORD time…and if we start having positive job growth before August 2010, that, too, will be the fastest recovery since at least 1900.

    On health care, the Democrats have been trying to pass health care reform for SIXTY YEARS…and Obama’s on track to pass it in his FIRST year.

    On Afghanistan, the Rabid Right is pounding the table because Obama hasn’t ‘solved’ it after being in office for less than a year…never mind that the Republicans couldn’t do it after SEVEN years! He’s taken a bit over a month to consider his options…and the situation has changed in the past month because Pakistan has made significant gains against al-Qaeda and the Taliban…and ANY plan on Afghanistan must consider current events in Pakistan.

    So, um, yeah! If we look at the FACTS, at the actual ACCOMPLISHMENTS, President Obama’s doing pretty doggone well, thank you very much!

    THAT, OA, is leadership!

  • Baronius

    “Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were confident to the point of arrogance, hubris. Where did that get us?”

    Overthrow of the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq; significant stabilization and democratization in both countries; international cooperation in the fight against Islamic extremism; liberalization in several Middle East countries; domestic security

    “Oh, sorry, I forgot.”

    Apparently.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Glenn,

    I’m surprised at how disingenuous your comments are both here and in the KSM thread. McChrystal didn’t initially go public but did so only after being basically ignored. There has been much talk even in the MSM that discusses why he did what he did (and some lefties out there even agree with him).

    And I don’t know why we are talking about Bush again, he’s not in power anymore. But it is worth noting that more and more U.S. soldiers are dying in Afghanistan now than when Bush left office in January. And what is Obama doing about it exactly? Taking his time while more Americans die. THIS is the problem, this is what the table pounding is about this is what my article is about.

    You are doing the Obama thing again by mischaracterizing the GOP’s stance. So typically Obama of you. Tell me Glenn, who is saying that they are upset with Obama for not “fixing” Afghanistan right now? I’d like to see a sourced quote here, not your insistance that it is so.

    I don’t know anyone on the right that expects Obama to magically fix the sitation in Afghanistan. But they don’t expect worthless dithering either.

    Obama campaigned on doing something with Afghanistan, the supposed good war. The reality of his presidency hasn’t shown him to do much of anything other than hem and haw and basically vote present just like he did as a legislator. This goes to the fact that Obama has never actually run anything and never had to make a hard decision and this is evident in his behavior as president now. Most Americans now disapprove of his handling of the war. This is what you call leadership? Take the blinders off.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    And I don’t know why we are talking about Bush again, he’s not in power anymore.

    Because it makes me wonder why you and all the other conservatives weren’t pounding on the door of the Bush White House demanding to bring the troops home from Afghanistan after SEVEN YEARS of occupation there (which was seriously deteriorating for several months BEFORE Obama took office)…

    …yet now that Obama’s been in office for less than a year, the conservatives are so eager to proclaim him an utter failure on Afghanistan.

    Seven years of occupation under Bush…and the conservatives were as quiet as mice.

    Less than a year under Obama…”OBAMA’S DITHERING WHILE AMERICANS DIE!”

    I’m pointing out Bush because I’ve got a deep-seated hatred of HYPOCRISY.

  • Ruvy

    Ihave an article in pending (I couldn’t hold it in any longer) about what is going on here. Frankly, I do not think the threat in Afghanistan is anything like any of you might make it out to be. The danger still lies here to my north. Obama will screw himself over in Afghanistan, not being able to meet rhetoric with action.

    But in the end, that is your problem. My problems will come flying in from the north bringing death and mourning – just not yet.

  • pablo

    Lumpy for Ron Paul, now that is rich! hehehe

  • Allie Guest-Bardstown, KY

    What i have to say is very short and simple. Jan.9,2010 a hometown boy was involved in the explosion in Afghanistan.25 year old Cpl. Matthew Ballard and his family was told he may loose his legs.I know there are more stories like this and even worse when you speak of fatalities. I put this on facebook and asked the world and other countries to stop and say a prayer for him and all the other soldiers in battle.
    Then i said something simple. America has taken care of everyone else long
    enough. America has endured all the PAIN and LOSS they need to.AMERICA needs to take care of AMERICA??
    We need a PRESIDENT with some BACKBONE and BALLS to say “ENOUGH”. “It’s time to BRING our TROOPS HOME!”AND BRING THEM HOME NOW.
    I DON’T CARE now WHY, WHEN, AND WHAT REASONS we have for our soldiers to be gone,I only care about when they come HOME!!
    So President Obama, will you be the man whom AMERICA has put all their TRUST, FAITH,and families in and take care of AMERICA.