The President’s Decision (Afghanistan)

June 23, 2010

My reply:

If you believe an individual without any executive experience can be an effective President, then you might just as well believe that it doesn’t matter who runs the war in Afghanistan.

From Obama’s perspective, it very well be that it’s the deadline that’s going to do all the work. He put a withdrawal date out there. That date is going to motivate the Afghans to get their act together in time to assume the responsibilities that we’re going to dump on them.

Well, that, and the public tongue-lashing Obama delivered to Karzai the other day. You know; tough love and all that.

This is the point-of-view he held in relation to Iraq. It was a threatened ending of the US mission that really did the work of getting the Iraqis to cooperate and face up to their responsibilities.

Now let’s take that point-of-view and apply it to domestic politics. By this logic the US should establish a date by which health insurance (or hell, health care, in general) would be unavailable. Then everyone would be motivated to stay well.

Problem solved.

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Another friend’s email

I agree. I wonder — Is the bench strength of our top commanders that thin (where Petraeus is the only option), or is the Petraeus appointment a way of maintaining momentum on the learning curve in Afghanistan so that the President has a better chance to hit his target troop withdrawal dates?

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A Friends email:

I am less troubled by the President’s decision to fire Gen. McChrystal than the apparent decision to replace him with Gen. Petraeus. I do not see how Gen. Petraeus can be expected to run all of CentCom while directly supervising Afghanistan. If he is not doing both, then it seems he was just demoted, which would be unpopular as well as unjust, and therefore unwise.

If somehow Gen Petraeus does both successfully, I say five stars would not be too many.

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