Sunday, December 6, 2009

Inside Obama's Afghanistan Decision

Interesting story here from this morning's Washington Post on the decision-making process behind the President's recent announcement on energizing our effort in Afghanistan. A couple of things become clear:

1. I am comfortable and satisfied with the President's maturity and judgment in how he went about his decision-making here. Only time will tell if it was the RIGHT decision, but I cannot argue with the mechanics.
2. The beating that General McChrystal took in the press--a bit of it here in this blog (which I subsequently took back)--for providing the President a "do it this way or we'll lose" plan was completely and thoroughly wrong. As is evident from this piece--McChystal's plan responded to the political requirements that were placed on him. He did his job, he did it well. The politicians then realized that the MISSION HE WAS GIVEN was potentially unachievable within the political risk space they were willing to operate.
3. General Jones as National Security Adviser--clearly, early in the administration, someone was out to discredit him. Given the extent to which Special Envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has been marginalized (and his well-known talent for behind the scenes smears) I believe Holbrooke led this effort. But if you look at the folks at the top--Gates, Clinton, Jones--you see people who appear to be working well together and tackling tough policy questions with collegiality. This is the mark of a superior National Security Adviser.


"The Hammer" said...

What evidence would you cite for you assertion that Richard Holbrooke is behind a smear campaign, other than your own prejudices?

The Conservative Wahoo said...

No hard evidence; just nearly 20 years of time spent in Washington, in or near the foreign policy and national defense establishments, listening to people who know him and who have worked with him describe his style.

But as for hard evidence, I have none. Point taken.

"The Hammer" said...

You're on very thin ice CW. I'm aware of Holbrooke's reputation too. He might just make a phone call and you'll be getting E6 rather than O6 retirement.

Erik J. Leklem said...

Good points CW. I'm still at some loss to explain NSA's relevance to outsiders of this process...hoping that time will tell as well with regard to his actual influence, success and utility. Hard to read between the public lines and what we observe in private of the NSC process.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Keep at it, Ascension. Tough work.

Dan said...

I caught this quote from a NYT article of the same subject:

"....betting that a quick jolt of extra forces could knock the enemy back on its heels enough for the Afghans to take over the fight."

Probably as succint a summation of the President's "strategy" as I have seen.

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