Almost ten months into his administration, President Obama continues to refer to the "mess" he "inherited" when he became president. It is an unbecoming trait, to say the least, that a grown man - the leader of the free world - continues to whine when speaking in public.
To hear him complain about the loyal opposition, you would think the role of president was forced upon him, not sought by him. Let us be clear - Obama ran for the office, as his predecessors ran for it. A political observer would be hard pressed to find a more eager candidate in recent times. Obama ran for the highest office in the land after barely beginning his first term in national elected office. His previous experience was as a state senator and before that, a community organizer.
Why does a man so boldly aggressive in his political career pursuit continue to look so small and unpresidential? Does he not understand that he appears as the whiner-in-chief? We teach our children to stop whining and conduct themselves more maturely. The president needs the same reminder.
On August 30, President Obama received the full report from General McChrystal on his recommendations for pursuing the war in Afghanistan. Since then Obama has made a great show of contemplating what the next move should be. Should he send the troops McChrystal requests? Should he begin a scale down and prepare for retreat?
Make no mistake, this is the war Obama heralded as the "good war", the war of necessity, as he loudly criticized the war in Iraq. He boasted about his non-support of the war in Iraq and of the surge that would win the war. He replaced the commander in Afghanistan with McChrystal when he came into office. This is his guy and he is being stalled.
McChrystal is an expert in counter terrorism. Petraeus - the general who Obama felt emboldened to berate in a Senate committee appearance, along with Hillary Clinton, as they ran for President - is an expert in counterinsurgency. Both are the ones that Obama should listen to, not Biden and Kerry. Instead of domestic political decisions, military decisions are required at this point. Biden and Kerry are bowing to the far left that want us out of the war.
Americans are conflicted about our continued participation in the war in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a nation living in bronze age conditions and ruled by tribes. It is tough stuff. For the president to 'dither' does not lead to confidence in our ability to conduct the war.
America bowed to international pressure and handed off Afghanistan to NATO under George W. Bush. Now Obama and his people like to bash the former administration on its handling of the war. This is directly connected to the president's inability to handle criticism gracefully. Last weekend in San Francisco Obama said during a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi, "Now, to the non-Democrats who may be watching today, I want everybody to know we believe in a strong and loyal opposition. I believe in a two-party system, where ideas are tested and assumptions are challenged, because that's how we move this country forward. But what I reject is when some folks decide to sit on the sidelines and root for failure on health care, or on energy, or on our economy. What I reject is when some folks say we should go back to the past policies when it was those very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place."
Yesterday, former VP Cheney released the transcript of a speech he delivered last night. He takes to task the lies perpetuated by Obama and his aides that Afghanistan was mishandled and therefore, he is dealing with an unexpected mess. Turns out, the Obama plan to date has been the Bush plan that was handed to him last fall when Obama was president-elect. The Obama team was given a recommended strategy forward in Afghanistan and Team Obama requested the Bush administration remain silent about the delivery of that recommendation. The Bush administration complied. Obama put forth the plan during his March speech on Afghanistan.
Now, he is dithering. He is succumbing to political pressure when he should be leading with his own plan. He looks weak and indecisive. This is when the complete lack of executive leadership experience in Obama resume is apparent.
From Cheney's speech:
"We should all be concerned as well with the direction of policy on Afghanistan. For quite a while, the cause of our military in that country went pretty much unquestioned, even on the left. The effort was routinely praised by way of contrast to Iraq, which many wrote off as a failure until the surge proved them wrong. Now suddenly – and despite our success in Iraq – we’re hearing a drumbeat of defeatism over Afghanistan. These criticisms carry the same air of hopelessness, they offer the same short-sighted arguments for walking away, and they should be summarily rejected for the same reasons of national security.
Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission.
President Obama has said he understands the stakes for America. When he announced his new strategy he couched the need to succeed in the starkest possible terms, saying, quote, “If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”
Five months later, in August of this year, speaking at the VFW, the President made a promise to America’s armed forces. “I will give you a clear mission,” he said, “defined goals, and the equipment and support you need to get the job done. That’s my commitment to you.”
It’s time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger. "
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently said, "The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops." That is in direct conflict with the advice being doled out to the president by Joe Biden and John Kerry - neither of whom have stellar track records when it comes to foreign policy decisions.
General Zinni, once heralded by the anti-war political left because he publicly disagreed with the execution of the Iraq war under former President Bush, now voices his frustration with Obama's indecision concerning troop commitment in Afghanistan.
Our troops and the world await leadership from our Commander-in-Chief.