Posts Tagged ‘War Council’
November 24th, 2009 at 12:43 am
Afghanistan … Again
Posted by Print

It’s late on Monday night and President Obama has been huddling with his “war council” at the White House for the ninth time discussing a strategy for the war in Afghanistan.  Never mind that Obama himself unveiled a new strategy in the spring, that he was responsible for appointing General McChrystal as the commander in theater, and that his months-long ambivalence on Afghanistan is in sharp contrast to the “fierce urgency of now” that drove the stimulus package, cap and trade, and health care reform to be rolled out in massive pieces of legislation delivered in the middle of the night.

Even putting all that aside, what’s truly worrisome about the President’s current state of mind is his unseriousness.  According to CNN’s coverage of the council meeting:

At the last war council meeting – on November 11, Veteran’s Day – Obama pushed for revisions in proposed plans for troop increases to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that Obama would seek answers at Monday’s meeting to the questions he posed on November 11 about “not just how we get people there, but what’s the strategy for getting them out.”

It’s all well and good for Obama to be considering what the endgame in Afghanistan will look like, but that’s no reason to delay the decision-making process.  The historical record is pretty clear. While an emphasis on exit strategies always sounds comforting, they’re almost impossible to construct in a vacuum.  If Afghanistan is really the “war of necessity” the president has said it is (and it is), he needs to settle on a strategy for victory. Trying to figure out how to leave before figuring out how to win is a recipe for failure. Obama is president now — which means it’s time for him to stop thinking about the war in terms of election cycles.