Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You Guys Make A Pretty Good Photo Op

President Obama is set to finally announce his decision on Afghanistan in a speech tonight from West Point Military Academy. A decision that's been three months in the making. While Afghanistan was falling apart and 176 American troops died, our president was deliberating on what to do by playing some golf, calling out Fox News, stumping for the Olympics and focusing on Health Care.


SSG_E said...

Obama's contempt for the military has begun to be noticed by a lot of my peers. This guy keeps playing games. I fear that Afghanistan will become the next Vietnam. The politicians are telling the military how to fight a war. It didn't work in the early years of Iraq when Bush did it, it didn't work in Vietnam when Johnson did it, and it won't work in Aghanistan if Obama continues to do it. Let us off the leash or get everyone home! Have you heard about the new ROE for the Afghan mission? Horrible.

Silke said...

What do you mean by the "photo op", Chris?

And what is the new ROE in Afghanistan, SSG E?

Christopher Lee said...

You guys make a pretty good photo op

Silke said...

OK, thanks Chris.

So in the seven years President Bush failed to properly resource the war in Afghanistan, did you fault him at all for the American troops who died while he cleared brush at his ranch, or diverted resources to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, or went to the Olympics in China?

Christopher Lee said...

1. Bush is gone. It's time to move on.

2. Not sure how many times I've already stated this, but this will be the final time. I didn't criticize Bush for 6-7 years because I was an ideologue who had my eyes closed. I was wrong.

Silke said...

Fair enough, Chris. And I agree we need to move on but if you’re going to criticize the current Commander-in-Chief for things “falling apart” in Afghanistan it’s important to put it in the context of a war that was intentionally under-resourced by the previous Commander-in-Chief for seven years.

SSG_E said...

A lot of people I talk to that have been there recenlty or are preparing to go now are concerned about the ROE. I understand the need to limit civilian casualties. No military does that better than ours. But current ROE laid out by the defense dept. presumably on orders from higher, has adopted a "prevent civilian casualties at all costs" policy that has already gotten people killed. Four marines died in an ambush earlier this Fall when they could not get airstrikes or artillery support due to the ROE. Supposedly they were too close to a village, but the survivors on the ground stated they were no where near it. Another example that was expressed to me as a point of concern is that we are supposed to break contact with the enemy in the presence of civilians. That is not always feasable or advisable. Based on the ROE and the dithering and half-hearted measures being implemented one wonders if we are in this to win it. This keeps looking like a Vietnam-type scenario where politicians are calling all the shots and the military is hamstrung by bureaucrats and idiot politicians. We need to either let the military off the chain and go in and kick ass, or we need to come home. I am sick of politics. I am sick of the BS coming from both political parties. I am sick of politicians-all of them. Obama is just another politician with a personal agenda. He doesn't care one damn bit about the military. The entire reason he waited so long to announce his so-called plan is he wanted to weigh the political consequences and time it as a diversion away from talk about healthcare. I do not understand how anyone could be fooled by this pathetic excuse of a man that is currently our president. All politicians, save a very limited few, are self-serving ego-driven narcissistic scumbags. Obama is no different. That is why almost no one in the military trusts him, or almost any other politician, at this point.

Silke said...

It’s my understanding the change in the ROE was General McChrystal’s call. What is your evidence that it came from outside DoD?

I don’t agree with you that the President doesn’t “care one damn bit about the military.” Nor do I think the timing of his deliberation had anything to do with healthcare. If anything I would think he wouldn’t want any distractions from healthcare reform.

You are certainly free to express your own opinions about whether you trust the President but I wouldn’t presume to speak for the entire military community about whether they trust him or not. In my experience people in the military don’t discuss politics and they certainly don’t denounce their Commander-in-Chief.

SSG_E said...

"It’s my understanding the change in the ROE was General McChrystal’s call"

Irrelevant. The buck stops at Obama. If it was McChrystal's call, Obama is still responsible. That's Obama's general. He picked him. I don't know why Obama would listen to McChrystal now when he hasn't listened to him before.

If Obama didn't want distractions from the healthcare debate he wouldn't be manufacturing so many distractions. If Obama wanted to have a real healthcare debate he wouldn't be trying to force it down our throats and he wouldn't have tried rushing it through like he did earlier this year. Maybe this isn't part of his last minute push to ram govt healthcare through before the end of the year, but it looks that way.

I am sure Obama cares at least to the point superficially that all politicians say they care. But, he doesn't know anyone in the military. It isn't personal to him. He has no roots and no link to the military community and I doubt his sincerity. If he honestly cared he would not make such a stupid joke and call soldiers a photo op. If Bush said something that stupid the media would have rightfully skewered him for it.

Thank God I am still able to express my opinions, and I do not presume to speak for the entire military community. I can only speak from my experience and the dozens and dozens of military servicemen and women and their families with whom I speak with regularly.

I used to ignore politics. I wish I still did. But, as a wise philosopher once said: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors"

I can't ignore this crap anymore. I may have come off as a tad angry in some of my comments. I apologize if I offend, but I do not have the patience to play nice anymore.

Silke said...

SSG E said: Irrelevant. The buck stops at Obama. If it was McChrystal's call, Obama is still responsible.

It’s not irrelevant when you used it as an example of the politicians telling the military how to fight a war. You stated that the new ROE came from outside the DoD. If it originated with McChrystal as part of his new counter-insurgency strategy to secure the populace than it clearly was not a case of the politicians running the war.

Maybe this isn't part of his last minute push to ram govt healthcare through before the end of the year, but it looks that way.

Wouldn’t a distraction delay the legislative process? First the President gets criticized for his deliberations over Afghanistan because people said he wanted to pass healthcare reform first and now he gets criticized for using this as a means to pass healthcare reform? This makes no sense.

I can't ignore this crap anymore. I may have come off as a tad angry in some of my comments. I apologize if I offend, but I do not have the patience to play nice anymore.

You have nothing to apologize for. I was not offended and I can tell you’re very frustrated – but to what end? Why speculate and upset yourself over something you can have no way of knowing (i.e. Obama’s true feelings about the military, Obama’s true reasons for the timing of his decision on Afghanistan, etc.). I agree there are some legitimate things to be upset about with the state of politics today, so why add to it with pointless speculation?

SSG_E said...

The ROE was not written by someone in the military. If it was I would be shocked. No one in the military would write ROE that denies artillery or air support to troops in the fight. It looks more like the work of pentagon bureaucrats. If Obama doesn't know anything about it, he should. That's his #1 job.

Again, good discussion. We always take these things to another place it seems.

No this proves my point. Obama wanted everything rushed right now with no debate before people would know what hit them. He wanted stimulus, hellthcare, cap 'n tax, and all of the other useless govt programs he was pushing rammed through without thinking about it. Then suddenly he is deliberative when discussing Afghanistan? That is what makes no sense. He is presented with a crisis in Afghanistan that requires decisive action and he dithers. But when it comes to pushing his agenda and transforming America into some kind of third rate egalitarian "utopia" we cant't act fast enough. He is rushing through the things that need more time to be vetted, and he is delaying the decisions that needed to be made swiftly.

Once again I enjoy our exchanges. I like being honestly challenged and being given something to think about. I am just sick of the political games in general. That's where my frustration is directed. I don't presume to know what is in the guy's heart. That would be impossible to know for sure. I do have very good instincts, however, and everytime I see him or hear him speak something doesn't feel right. Keep an open mind about this and I will to. I will admit that I could be wrong. But, many of the people he has associated himself with throughout the years are very shady characters. Again, not a certain determinant of the character of Obama, but it is troubling nonetheless.

Silke said...

SSG E, what is your evidence that the ROE was not written by someone in the military? Who wrote the ROE and how do you know this? It’s my understanding that this is usually generated by the ranking commander in the theater in consultation with his military legal counsel. I have seen nothing about a policy that regularly denies artillery or air support to soldiers who legitimately need it.

With respect to the other issue, I think you are confusing two separate political processes – the legislative process and the executive process. I acknowledge the President’s preference for expedited bills which he favors. This is nothing new for either party but I agree the process should not be rushed. It should be discussed and debated. Unfortunately, when the opposition party doesn’t have enough votes, they try to thwart the process through procedural technicalities rather than legitimate debate. This is exactly what’s happening with the health care bill. With respect to Afghanistan, no new troop increases were requested before 2010 anyway, so it’s not as if he held up the process with his deliberation. And why is it that he never seems to get credit for sending 17,000 troops to Afghanistan within a month of taking office?

I agree it’s important to keep an open mind and to challenge one’s own views from time to time.

SSG_E said...

This story highlights some of the ROE problems:
I talk to people. I don't want to get someone in trouble so that's all I will say. Make the call for yourself. The ROE does not make sense from a military standpoint. http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/672198221/m/4140056532001
Reading some of these posts makes me suspicious of McChyrstal too. Also makes me question the plan as a whole. Brings up a lot of concerns you have also voiced.
This forum also blames McChrystal for the ROE. It mentions the Marines killed because they were denied artillery and airstrike support. McChrystal's strategy is to win hearts and minds, not to kill the enemy it seem. This is in line with the president's comments where he accused US troops of 'fire bombing villages' so I think McChrystal is in step with Obama on this one. Even if the ROE is entirely McChrystal's concoction, Obama is still responsible. This is his handpicked general and he is the commander in chief. Like I said, the buck stops with Obama. I wouldn't expect you to give Bush a pass on this, why does Obama get one?

I have already said that I give Obama full credit for the additional 17000 troops that he sent earlier this year. I applauded the move because at the time it seemed like he was serious about Afghanistan. Since then it seems that he is more upset about the war getting in the way of his domestic agenda than anything else.

I would let Obama off the hook for dithering and deliberating for over 3 months while trying to decide on Afghanistan if he came out with a bolder plan. If he came out and said let's go in there and kick their ass, and then sent McChrystal's recommendation of 60000 troops (40000 was the minimum request) I feel that would have warranted the amount of time he deliberated. Conversely, if he said Afghanistan is not our fight anymore and I am bringing the troops home. That would have also warranted the deliberation if he then came out with a credible strategy for withdrawal. Better yet, if he said we are getting out of Afghanistan and then going to destroy al-Qaeda in Somalia and Pakistan that would have been bold.
Instead he dithers for 3 months and then comes out with a half-hearted plan that falls short of McChrystal's minimum request and has a time limit. He is trying to make both sides happy and in the end he will not succeed in pleasing his critics or his leftwing loon base. Meanwhile the troops are caught in the middle of more political game playing.

SSG_E said...

With healthcare...thank God there is some opposition to this monstrosity and it is being held up. Obama made a big push right before the summer recess to try to make congress vote on healthcare before the lawmakers went home to receive an earful from their angry constituents that overwhelmingly are opposed to the plans thus far proposed by congress. You can't have forgotten that already? Remember the big prime time news conference where he desperately tried to defend his plan and urge congress to pass it immediately. Then he was viciously fact checked and it turns out that he made up a lot of the stuff he was talking about. http://www.newsweek.com/id/208364/page/1

No I am not confusing anything. I don't believe that you haven't noticed the full press on Obama's part to get congress to ram through his agenda. You can't be complaining about the republican opposition to this bill when the dems were constantly doing the same thing and much worse on almost every single thing that Bush tried to do. He couldn't even appoint qualified judges to federal benches because of the stupid democrat maneuvering and so many circuits were left without judges which caused backlogs in cases for years. I the dems don't like a taste of their own medicine they shouldn't have been so obstructive themselves. I love the left's idea of compromise: when we are in power do what we say. When you are in power do what we say. Just give us what we want. That's a great deal. Compromise to the left is everyone else compromises their position and to hell with everyone else. This is the kind of crap I am sick of. This is why the federal govt needs to be limited to the greatest extent possible. To prevent these games and to keep them from doing this much damage.

Silke said...

SSG E said: Even if the ROE is entirely McChrystal's concoction, Obama is still responsible.

What?!? First you criticize him as a politician telling the military how to fight a war and now you criticize because he’s not telling the military how to fight a war? Make up your mind.

SSG_E said...

No. What I mean is McChrystal is Obama's general. He found the guy that would presumably fight the war the way Obama wants. McChrystal's policies are a reflection of what Obama wants, or what McChrystal thinks Obama wants. Obama is still responsible for wartime policy as he is the CIC. I don't want any politician dictating strategy in war, however if a general has some questionable ROE in place I would want the CIC to at least be asking that general a few questions.