Surging to Retreat

I’m working weird hours this week, and haven’t had a lot of time to dig into the big master plan unveiled by President Obama last night.

The 30,000 additional troops, while not all that McChrystal requested, will certainly be welcome if used properly.

Not sure why it took so long to make what appears to be a wishy-washy decision. Isn’t this the sort of thing that could have been fired from the hip the day after McChrystal’s number became known?

But this whole idea of winding down the war by July 2011 seems to be something dreamed up in la-la land. If you’re just going to pick a date on a calendar and say that’s when the war’s going to be over, why not pick next week? Either fight to win or don’t fight.

Hopefully, he’s just lying to buy time with his supporters who want to declare defeat right now. If giving timelines like this can keep the natives quiet, maybe it’s the best we can hope for from Obama right now. But it’s going to give the enemy the idea that he can win by waiting us out.

Here’s what I wrote in January 2007 about the “surge” that President Bush was to announce that night. (Remember how bad things in Iraq looked in late 2006.):

I’m not 100% certain that the supposed move to deploy an additional 21,500 US troops to Iraq is the best move, but it will work if

A) They are there to play offense
B) The Iraqi Army also plays a lot of offense

If we’re sending more troops to play peacekeeper, it’s a bad move that will merely put more of our men and women in the cross-hairs.

However, if we’re sending these troops to take the fight to the insurgents and anti-government militias, 21,000 could do the trick.

In many ways and for a lot of reasons, Afghanistan is not Iraq. As bad as Iraq looked at the beginning of 2007, there was a solid new military coming into its own and an acceptable end state that could be envisioned. In Afghanistan, the new military and police forces are, to put it delicately, mostly crap. And there is really no happy ending condition that we can work toward. There is only a “slightly less shitty condition” than the current condition.

Obama spoke some about the Pakistan issue, but there’s a long way to go before that mess starts to look acceptable.

The 2007 Iraq “surge” consisted of a lot more than just adding a few troops. And I think that some of the success that was found was due to the fact that the enemy (including Sadr), hoping to see us “wind down” the campaign after the Democrats surged to power in the 2006 Congressional elections, were shocked to learn that the exact opposite was going to happen. I’ve got to think that at least some of them just gave up at that point, figuring that no matter what happened, the US was there ’til the end. They thought they had waited Bush out, and instead learned that more troops were on the way.

By talking about deadlines in Afghanistan, we just gave that away. And it should make people question how serious Obama really is about any sort of long-term success in Afghanistan. And if he’s not that serious, people should be terrified that he’s sending more troops today.

Again, a wishy-washy try-to-please-everyone compromise like this should not have taken months to come up with. This looks more like the sort of thing that a few neighbors whip up in a coffee shop one morning when planning a block-wide garage sale for the following weekend.

We’ll see.

UPDATE: Here’s a good collection of links regarding the speech and plan at Instapundit.

UPDATE 2: McCain Press Release: ‘Success is the Real Exit Strategy.’

Comments

  1. Announcing the withdrawal time was stupid, he could have just insinuated that this was our goal as Bush did. Still, he is walking a fine political line here taking much heat from his far left supporters, but they will forgive him I’m sure.

    What is surprising is all the criticism from the right. Such hypocrites, as I recall how they dragged us kicking and screaming into the Surge, and rightly so. Now they are blasting the new president for doing the same thing in Afghanistan? I hate politics.

  2. The problem is that this is not the “Surge” replayed. By itself, another surge does nothing. The surge gave us time for other efforts to work in Iraq. Are we pursuing similar efforts in Afghanistan?

    This sounds more like the Democrats cut and run plan to abandon South Viet-Nam all over again. Is there one original thought in in the whole lot?

  3. I hate to say this, but this whole thing about declaring victory in 18 months and didi’ing out of Afghanistan to leave it hanging seems to make the infusion of our people a waste of time. The same strategy in Vietnam turned out to be a total goatscrew. Apparently it is still popular with democrat presidents though.

  4. Mullah Omar to the Taliban:
    1. Set up IED’s everywhere now before snow too heavy.
    2. Bury and hide all weapons.
    3. Meet me in Pakistan or blend in with locals for next year.
    4. July 2011 – regroup. Kill everyone who cooperated with Americans. Kill any UN or Nato personnel still in country.
    5. August 2011 – re-establish Taliban rule.

    Great plan Mr. Prez.

  5. Oh come on now. Everybody knows by now that the O consistently lies, especially about dates.

    I suspect he figures that in 2011, the R’s will control both the House and the Senate, so he won’t be able to start a withdrawal even if he actually wanted to.

  6. The Right dragged someone kicking and screaming into the Surge?

    WHAT TOTAL BS!

    Look CHILDREN, The Surge in Iraq was supported by all of us who has the knowledge and intelligence to know what was the RIGHT thing to do. As “US” includes
    more than a few of we Atheists, it was NOT Only those on the Right who supported the surge.

    While ODUMA is an Idiot an he should sent AT LEAST the 40,000 asked for when they were asked for, at least he is finally sending some troops. Oduma and the rest of the DUMOCRATS wanting a time table only proves they are so stupid they must be eating Retard
    pills.

    A LARGE enough “Surge” in Afghanistan will slow the bad guys down enough to allow the Afghanistans to build their forces so they can handle them.

  7. I suspect he figures that in 2011, the R’s will control both the House and the Senate, so he won’t be able to start a withdrawal even if he actually wanted to.

    To be honest, this had not occurred to me. That’s a great point. I was thinking it was a CYA statement, but it might end up being more of a “I wanted to bring them home but the mean Republicans wouldn’t let me” for the 2012 elections.

    A LARGE enough “Surge” in Afghanistan will slow the bad guys down enough to allow the Afghanistans to build their forces so they can handle them.

    I hope so. I beat the drum long and loud for buying time to get the Iraqi forces stood up. I have no optimism that anything similar to that will ever be fully accomplished in Afghanistan. I think the best we can hope for is to get Pakistan to limit the bad guys on their side of the border enough so that the Afghans can somehow keep control on their side. I don’t know if we’ll ever be done providing air support, though.

  8. I think the government in Kabul will take note of the Drop Dead Date our FearLess
    Leader has given, to steal as much money as they can over the next 18 mo. before
    they get out of Dodge.

  9. I think the government in Kabul will take note of the Drop Dead Date our FearLess Leader has given, to steal as much money as they can over the next 18 mo. before they get out of Dodge.

    That would imply corruption. Crazy talk.

  10. I am amazed at all this talk of the Taliban. I thought we were in Afghanistan to take out Al Qaeda.

    But then our government is not serious about protecting this nation. How can you spend billions (according to Obama we will spend $1 million/year/deployed soldier) to fight muslims half way around the world, yet simultaneously bring in tens of thousands of them through immigration?

    Can someone please explain how mass muslim immigration to the USA is a benefit? What’s the point of wasting blood and treasure to transform Afghanistan when you are transforming the USA? Just ask the folks in Minneapolis how they feel.

  11. FYI There 11 Bravo, as it seems you have not been keeping up, it WAS and IS the Taliban who provides
    Al Qaeda with save havens to operate from. As long as the Taliban controls an area, Al Qaeda has a base.
    And besides the Taliban are BAD PEOPLE who, if given the chance, would KILL YOU and ALL OF YOUR LOVED ONES in a heart beat! They & their buddies fully intend on taking over our entire planet! So Kill em now, or Kill em later is the ONLY choice we have!

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