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Sunday, December 06, 2009

McChrystal's Mission- 'Defeat the Taliban'

There is something very wrong in the White House when a mission, a war mission, is handed down to the commanders in the field to be implemented, then those making the decisions move along their merry way, and when they finally get around to talking with said commander, are surprised to find he is doing exactly as he was told to do.

Nope, can't have that, especially when those making the decisions are sitting around Washington without a clue as to what conditions on the ground are like.

I mean, who ever heard of someone being handed a job and actually doing that job!!

Washington Post:

His chance came at an Oct. 8 meeting of Obama's principal advisers, presided over by Jones -- the "dress rehearsal" for a full-scale National Security Council gathering the president would hold the next day. Speaking by video link from Kabul, McChrystal began with the policy underlying his approach, established by the White House review, hastily compiled in February, that led to Obama's March 27 strategy announcement and the deployment of nearly 22,000 new troops through the spring and summer.

In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. His lean face, hovering on the screen at the end of the table, was replaced by a mission statement on a slide: "Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population."

"Is that really what you think your mission is?" one of those in the Situation Room asked.

On the face of it, it was impossible -- the Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a significant part of the population. "We don't need to do that," Gates said, according to a participant. "That's an open-ended, forever commitment."

But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, and it was enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan -- the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.

"I wouldn't say there was quite a 'whoa' moment," a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. "It was just sort of a recognition that, 'Duh, that's what, in effect, the commander understands he's been told to do.' Everybody said, 'He's right.' "

"It was clear that Stan took a very literal interpretation of the intent" of the NSC document, said Jones, who had signed the orders himself. "I'm not sure that in his position I wouldn't have done the same thing, as a military commander." But what McChrystal created in his assessment "was obviously something much bigger and more longer-lasting . . . than we had intended."

Even Obama agreed, McChrystal was doing the job he had been given and when they realized exactly what they had told him to do, they decided to "redefine" the mission.

Already briefed on the previous day's discussion, the president "looked at it and said: 'To be fair, this is what we told the commander to do. Now, the question is, have we directed him to do more than what is realistic? Should there be a sharpening . . . a refinement?' " one participant recalled.

Read the whole piece, it is an amazing insight to how clueless the higher ups in the Obama administration, including Obama, truly are to what they are ordering our troops to do.

Talk about clueless, on a related note, Dana Milbank takes on the the Obamabots who dared hear what they wanted to instead of what Obama said or his previous record in regards to Afghanistan and other things.

Obama, of course, was not moved by his follower from Flint. The real question is why Moore, and those millions and multitudes of whom he wrote, thought that Obama would do otherwise. Obama never said during the campaign that he would pull out of Afghanistan; in fact, he had promised to escalate. "As president, I will make the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be," he said in July 2008, vowing to send at least two more combat brigades to Afghanistan. "This is a war that we have to win."

Yet Moore is surely right about the disillusionment of Obama's supporters. Even before the surge announcement, support among liberals for Obama's Afghanistan policy had dropped 22 points since July, to 59 percent from 81 percent, according to a Post-ABC News poll. Overall liberal support for Obama had drifted down to 80 percent from 94 percent in the spring -- and, given the noisy complaints from the left last week, that number seems likely to fall further.

Milbanks slaps the majority of the blame exactly where it belongs, on those that tried to turn Obama into some type of "messiah" instead of another politician making promises that would end up having to be tempered with reality once he was elected.

But at least as much blame for the disillusionment goes to progressives who simply expected too much of him. Some are disappointed that the Nobel Peace Prize winner proposed even higher defense spending than George W. Bush did -- but Obama never said he would cut the Pentagon's budget. Many liberals are disappointed that he isn't pushing the "public option" more forcefully in the health-care debate -- but it was never something Obama emphasized during the campaign.

His piece is is titled "Obama the mortal".

As the meeting with McChrystal showed, when Obama and the rest of the clowns running the show discovered they had given McChrystal a job without really understanding what that job entailed, Obama is not just a mortal, he is as inexperienced as was said before he was elected.

On the job training indeed.

Blast from the past, via video, only 1:24 minutes but worth remembering.