AP assures us that Obama’s Afghanistan dithering is actually a show of strength *UPDATED*

Obama has known for more than 12 months that he was going to become CIC, with responsibility for Afghanistan.  This means 12 months of presidential advisers able to give this neophyte help in figuring out the best strategy for the war that he declared, during the campaign, was the essential, central battlefield in the war against those pesky insurgents.  He’s also had two (or is it three?) months of specific recommendations from the general in charge of the Afghanistan operations.

And yet Obama has done absolutely nothing.  He’s floated myriad and contradictory trial balloons:  No troops was his first balloon, a strategy that played out when he played hide-and-seek with General McChrystal.  This balloon got shot down by ordinary Americans horrified that their sons and daughters are in a turkey shoot.  His next attempt at gauging public opinion was to say that he’d send some troops.  This balloon also bit the dust when savvy political and military observers pointed out that, under the circumstances on the ground in Afghanistan, half a loaf would not be better than none.  He then tried a completely different approach, announcing that he’d send lots of troops, albeit on a weirdly attenuated and pointless timeline.  Even the attenuated timeline, though, wasn’t sufficient to assuage his Lefter flank, and Obama quickly drew back on that idea too.

And since we know that Obama has no fixed principles, except for the desperate desire to receive universal accolades and to socialize the American economy, there are no internal impulses moving him in any direction on Afghanistan.  With his trial balloons grounded, he’s inert.

Or at least that’s what I thought.  The AP explains to me that 12 months of inertia, interrupted only by sending up abortive trial balloons, avoiding generals, and having endless meetings, is actually a sign of Obama’s incredible foreign policy expertise:

President Barack Obama’s drawn-out decision-making on Afghanistan is sending messages. To the Afghan government: Clean up your act. To the Pentagon: I’m no rubber stamp. To the American public: More troops can’t be the sole answer.

Obama has been accused by some Republicans of “dithering” about whether to send more troops and deepen U.S. involvement in an increasingly unpopular war.

The slow process also has left him open to critics who recall his pronouncement in March, after developing what he called a “stronger, smarter and comprehensive” Afghan war strategy, that the situation there was “increasingly perilous.” He ordered more troops to battle then, with little discernible result so far.

This time, he’s making it clear he won’t be rushed. Or pushed. And the way the messages he’s sending play out could help determine whether the war effort is sustainable in the long run.

Thank God for the AP.  Without their guidance, I never would have understood how subtle our President is.  Obama’s not ineffectual.  He’s engaging in a thrilling, practically telepathic, negotiation with just about everyone, simply by sitting still.

I’m sure that the troops currently serving in Afghanistan in unprotected positions as a resurgent Taliban contemplates the wonders of an apparently dormant president, are also delighted to learn that this is really all part of a grand plan intended to send marvelously nuanced messages to all sorts of people across the globe and right into the heart of the theater of war.

I’ll leave you with this Carole Burnett spoof of Brief Encounter, because it reminds us that Obama’s gone one better than these funny one-word lovers by doing away with words entirely:

UPDATE:  Unsurprisingly, Big Lizards has a better post about the flight from reality than anything I could do, with his focus, not on the media, but on Obama himself.

UPDATE II:  At American Digest, an excellent post suggesting that the media doesn’t need to spin so madly to cover up for Obama, since Obama really wants to do what he’s doing, and the resulting anarchy is a desired goal.

http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2009/11/i_reject_your_r.html

Two must reads *UPDATED*

American Thinker is a site I check regularly, at least twice a day.  It’s not just that the editors are kind enough to publish my work occasionally.  It’s because the articles that appear there routinely range from really good to out-of-the-park stupendous.

Today, there are two that fall in the latter category.  These are the kinds of articles that shouldn’t just be read, but that should be emailed to everyone you know.  Indeed, the one regarding socialism should be required reading in every American classroom.  So, without further ado, please, please, please read and discuss and forward:

What’s Wrong with Socialism, by Joe Herring

and

It Isn’t Political Correctness, It’s Shariah, by Pamela Geller

UPDATE:  Add military analyst Steve Schippert’s All the King’s Horses (about Afghanistan) to the list of things that will widen your horizons today.

It isn’t hard to predict a narcissist’s behavior

On October 22, 2008, I wrote this:

The MSM has been remarkably cavalier about Joe Biden’s bizarre statement regarding the “fact” that America will be attacked six months into a Barack Obama presidency and that people will be shocked and disappointed by Obama’s response (meaning that he’ll either collapse in a sobbing heap, thereby horrifying most Americans, or launch a nuclear missile strike, which will alienate his base).

The sobbing heap is well hidden from public view, but the collapse is obvious:

President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

(See also Hot Air.)

Narcissists have no strong inner sense of self.  Instead, they have just a gaping hole of inadequacy.  They compensate by elevating to staggering levels of importance the way in which others view them.  Other people’s perceptions provide their mirror.  Think about this for a moment:  I bet you know who you are and what you stand for.  If you think you’re a good or smart person, the fact that your wife is 10 pounds overweight or your husband has a stutter is irrelevant to your sense of self.  For a narcissist, the spouse’s “failings” indicate to everyone that the narcissist is a loser.  Remember, he has no inner guide to his own qualities.  Despite (or because of) this internal emptiness, narcissists are obsessed with hierarchy, and with the need to remind themselves, and everyone else, that they are on the top of the heap.  It’s the low self-esteem of the exceptionally arrogant person.

Clinton was a narcissist who filled the emptiness with female adulation.  His little brain was ticking away with “I’m a charming stud.  I’m a charming stud.”

Obama’s little brain says “Everyone can see I’m a genius.  Everyone can see I’m a genius.”  The problem with that definition, of course, is that it’s unanchored to moral beliefs or values or guiding principles or anything else decent and internalized.  It’s a standard measured only by other people’s praise.  The problem with this external measurement, of course, is that if you make a mistake the praise goes away.  Narcissists cannot afford mistakes.  And the best way to avoid a mistake is not to make a decision.  And there you have it.  Obama is being tested, and he cannot afford, because of his own self-image, to make a decision that might be wrong.  So he does nothing at all, while the Taliban burnishes its strength, and our troops die.

I know I miss Bush, but I never thought I’d miss Clinton.  The one had values, and was willing to make decisions, even if they were wrong; and the other, at least, had charm.  All Obama has is a scarily impassive arrogance that may yet be the death of us.

About that word “insurgents” *UPDATED*

I saw a headline at Drudge, to the effect that there is a photo of Afghan “insurgents” with U.S. ammo.  The story, although I’m sure it’s interesting, interested me less than that word “insurgent.”  We’ve all talked about the fact that “insurgent” a word that allows a politically correct, liberal media to avoid such words as “terrorist” and to shy away from any discussion about the religion those “insurgents” practice.

But most obviously, it’s a way of avoiding that old-fashioned word “enemy.”  Try as they may, though, reporters cannot shy away from a central fact:  Those Afghani “insurgents” are engaged in a war against American troops.  They are our ENEMY.

en⋅e⋅my
–noun
1. a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.
2. an armed foe; an opposing military force: The army attacked the enemy at dawn.
3. a hostile nation or state.
4. a citizen of such a state.
5. enemies, persons, nations, etc., that are hostile to one another: Let’s make up and stop being enemies.
6. something harmful or prejudical: His unbridled ambition is his worst enemy.
7. the Enemy, the Devil; Satan.

It is staggering and disgusting that, despite the hits our American troops are taking, our media finds itself incapable of taking sides and calling those who would kill us “the enemy.”

Feh!  And it’s no surprise, of course, that Barack Obama, who can demonize a news station and a radio personality, is incapable of uttering those words either.  What a bag of poop he is — and pardon me for being crude, but on the eve of Veteran’s Day, I’m simply disgusted by the whole damn lot of them.

UPDATE:  I finally figured out what this foolish word play reminds me of.  One of the more brilliant Simpsons episodes has as its centerpiece a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire which, not unsurprisingly, gets all of the emotional notes absolutely wrong.  So it is that Blanche’s statement about her dependence on the kindness of strangers morphs into “A Stranger’s Just a Friend You Haven’t Met.”  That song seems to highlight our media’s idiotic attempt to make sure that America has no real enemies (except for Rush, of course).

Obama’s shopping cart — by guest blogger Sadie

It’s like standing in line at the check out counter:  You find yourself peering into the cart in front of you to see what people are eating. The obviously overweight person in front of you has filled his cart with junk food, sugary cereals, ice cream, no vegetables, lots of frozen pizza, no fruit, lots of crap — and you stand there silently shaking your head from side to side. You stifle the urge to say something, because you know that it’s none of your business.

I just got a peek at the Obama cart…..

This is from the White House visitor logs that check everyone who goes in and out. Here are a few individuals, with their number of visits:

George Soros – 4 times
Bill Ayers – 2 times [Although I think that this isn't that Bill Ayers]
Jeremiah Wright – 1 time
Micheal Moore – 8 times
Micheal Jordan – 5 times
Gen. David Petreus – 0 times
Unions Boss Richard Trumka – 8 times
Union Boss Andy Stern – 21 times
Alan Greenspan – 8 times
Gen. Stanley McChrystal – 0 times

The war under Generals Obama, Kerry and Biden

I don’t often do this, as you know, but I’m going to quote Jennifer Rubin’s post in its entirety here.  I think it’s important that people understand precisely what is going on in Washington and how it’s affecting men and women in Afghanistan.  Rubin, unsurprisingly, does as good a job as anyone summing up the immoral behavior at home, which creates death abroad.  This is even worse than Vietnam, because Obama’s conduct here is more deliberate and, in a twisted way, more informed about the risks of his conduct:

This sobering report comes from the Washington Post:

More than 1,000 American troops have been wounded in battle over the past three months in Afghanistan, accounting for one-fourth of all those injured in combat since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. The dramatic increase has filled military hospitals with more amputees and other seriously injured service members and comes as October marks the deadliest month for American troops in Afghanistan.

How many were killed or lost a limb, I wonder, while the president dithered and delayed implementing the recommendations of his hand-picked general? It is not an inconsequential question. The president acts as though there were no downside to the lethargic pace of his decision-making. He would have us believe that there is no price to be paid as he micromanages, province-by-province, the number of troops he’ll dispense. He seems content to entertain the recommendations of Gens. Joe Biden and John Kerry – drawing on their years of experience (in assessing nearly every national-security challenge incorrectly) while discarding that of the real experts.

What’s a few more weeks? Or months? Well, we know there is indeed a price to allowing our current approach to languish. There is a very real cost to delaying implementation of the new plan that is the best available to achieve victory as quickly as possible. The enemy is emboldened. More civilians die. The political and security situation in Pakistan worsens. And more brave Americans are asked to sacrifice themselves while Obama considers and reconsiders whether there isn’t any way to shave some money off the tab and reduce the number of troops his commanders say are needed. After all, health care is going to cost an awful lot.

The horrid reality of war is that parents send their children to die or to return in a condition they could not possibly have envisioned. But to sacrifice even a single American who was engaged in a fruitless exercise or an understaffed operation so the president can conduct a seminar and postpone a confrontation with his own party (which no longer can stomach the “good war”) is reprehensible.

At a certain point, you have to fish or cut bait. Either Obama fights a war, in which case he fights both to win and to ensure that our troops are adequately supported in that fight. Or, Obama withdraws from the fight, and takes our troops out of harm’s way entirely. To do what he’s doing, which is not fighting but leaving our troops there is unconscionable.

Obama needs to figure out that he’s president, not place holder

Charles Krauthammer goes on full throttle attack against Barack Obama based on Obama’s endless, weasely whining that everything that’s gone wrong with the first nine months of his presidency is all Bush’s fault.  The central focus of this whining, of course, is Afghanistan, which candidate Obama claimed was the necessary war and which candidate Obama complained was the war Bush ignored.  Candidate Obama also promised that he would take immediately action on Afghanistan and fix it.  But now with his feet in the Oval Office, suddenly it’s not President Obama’s problem any more — because it’s all Bush’s fault:

Is there anything he hasn’t blamed George W. Bush for?

The economy, global warming, the credit crisis, Middle East stalemate, the deficit, anti-Americanism abroad — everything but swine flu.

It’s as if Obama’s presidency hasn’t really started. He’s still taking inventory of the Bush years. Just this Monday, he referred to “long years of drift” in Afghanistan in order to, I suppose, explain away his own, well, yearlong drift on Afghanistan.

This compulsion to attack his predecessor is as stale as it is unseemly. Obama was elected a year ago. He became commander in chief two months later. He then solemnly announced his own “comprehensive new strategy” for Afghanistan seven months ago. And it was not an off-the-cuff decision.

Given the non-stop whining and blaming, it’s sometimes hard to remember that Obama desperately wanted, and battled hard, to take on Bush’s job.  For a year and a half, he promised voters — left, right and center — that, with his transformative, nay, God-like* powers, he would resolve those problems instantly and definitively.  Apparently boasting about solving things is not the same as actually solving them.  Indeed, even the ability to offer legitimate criticisms is not the same as the ability to solve problems.  I’m famous for being able to take things apart, but singularly lack the ability to put them back together again.

The fact is that all candidates make abstract promises and then, if elected, have to deal with concrete realities.  All candidates discover that there may be a chasm between those promises and the realities.  Only Obama, though, is so childish and narcissistic that he is unable to accept that he’s in charge now, and that the realities are his problem. Placing blame is no longer a job for the President. It’s just one for the history books. (And if it’s any comfort to Obama, with the plethora of Leftist history professors, he’ll come out on top in there.)

________________________

*Have you ever noticed that Leftists really want a God?  The traditional ones aren’t good enough for them, so they go out and create their own.  I have to say that, if I were making up a God, I wouldn’t pick a jug-eared skinny guy who doesn’t like women and tends to engage in trash talk.  (And that’s entirely separate from my profound disagreements with his policies and values.)

More on Obama’s hostile relationship to the military

Jennifer Rubin has two posts this morning, both of which illustrate my point about the dangerous relationship between our CIC and the military he’s supposed to be leading.  In the first, she talks about the insane decision-making process in D.C., which seems to have little to do with either victory or troop safety:

The White House seminars on the Afghanistan war are continuing. The term papers assigned this quarter include a “province-by-province analysis of Afghanistan to determine which regions are being managed effectively by local leaders and which require international help, information that his advisers say will guide his decision on how many additional U.S. troops to send to the battle.” But there is a hint as to where this is headed. The military commanders are being phased out and the political appointees are taking charge:

The review group once included intelligence officials, generals and ambassadors, but it has recently narrowed to a far smaller number of senior civilian advisers, including Biden, Gates, Jones, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, among others.

But the game is obvious here. Extract information, second-guess the military, and lower the troop levels:

“There are a lot of questions about why McChrystal has identified the areas that he has identified as needing more forces,” said a senior military official familiar with the review, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations candidly. “Some see it as an attempt by the White House to do due diligence on the commander’s troop request. A less charitable view is that it is a 5,000-mile screwdriver tinkering from Washington.”

No wonder the process is taking so long. All this homework and micromanaging takes time. But in the end, will the American people believe that faux Gens. Biden and Emanuel were smarter than Gen. Stanley McChrystal? The voters in repeated polls have already said they trust the military commanders by a wide margin over the president to make the calls on Afghanistan. That isn’t how it should work in our system of civilian control. But the public has smelled a rat — and is right to conclude that the president and his team aren’t making decisions on the merits but rather are massaging the facts to get to a result they desire.

The seminar process has not inspired confidence. Moreover, the president’s failure to reiterate the importance of a successful outcome (he doesn’t like the word victory) has allowed public support for the war to erode further. It’s hard to see whether the president still believes in the effort, given that he’s decided that “the Taliban cannot be eliminated as a military and political force, regardless of how many more troops are deployed.” We are now in the business of half-measures and inconclusive outcomes.

As you can see, the president is involved in political calculations, with little concern for military outcomes.  The war he said was a necessity is now a problem, and Emanuel, Kerry and Biden are trying to turn it into Kerry’s famous “police action.”  This is how troops die — and, worse, die for nothing.

What’s even sadder is that, as Rubin also points out, the money that could have been used to win a war, save lies and create jobs has been piddled (if you count waterfalls of cash as piddling) away on pork:

This report tells us:

An early progress report on President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.The government’s first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

Forget the error rate and the funny double-counting. If we created 25,000 jobs, we’re talking $31.48 million per job created. (That uses the conservative figure of $787B, which does not include interest.) This is how the taxpayers’ money is being spent. And the administration declares this a success, beyond its expectations. We’re heading for double-digit unemployment, but we’re told this was money well spent.

Meanwhile, the Obama team can’t find the money — or is it the will to ask for the money? – to give Gen. McChrystal all the funding for troops he needs. We don’t have enough to continue the F-22 — which would create directly or indirectly 95,000 high-paying jobs. We need to chisel a billion here and there on missile defense. After all, we need to watch how we spend the taxpayers’ money.

Is the administration setting up a Vietnam in Afghanistan? *UPDATED*

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll now say it for the million and first time:  You fight wars to win.  If you’re not committed to winning, leave.  If you don’t leave, and fight a half-assed war, you end with dead soldiers.  That’s what happened in Vietnam, and that’s what Obama and Biden are planning to see happen in Afghanistan.

Although a liberal assured me I shouldn’t worry.  He said that a “vast majority” (and who knew 53% was a vast majority?) of Americans voted for Obama and Biden and that those two can therefore be trusted to make the right decisions.  I suggested, more politely than this idiot deserved, that Obama’s and Biden’s profound lack of military experience meant that Americans trusted them to following the generals (whom Americans do trust to know how to wage war), rather than to go their own way.  “Oh, no,” he responded.  “We have to have faith in Obama.”  When I hit that religious wall, I knew all rational discourse was over.

Trust Jennifer Rubin, of course, to explain exactly what the problem is with the advisors to whom Obama is listening.  Having given Biden a fair hearing, Obama’s now turned to someone else:

The bad news is that Kerry is Obama’s new best adviser. What this boils down to is chiseling on the troops by dragging the process out so as to “diffuse the political problem of asking Congress to fund 40,000 more troops — at about $40 billion — all at once.” Because, with a trillion dollars needed for a health-care bill the voters don’t want, we plainly don’t have $40B to win a critical war, right? And Obama can’t be expected to persuade Congress to do what is needed to win the war, so “diffusing” — denying his general the troops he says he needs — is the way to go.

My advice, and I never thought I’d say this, is that if you are a young person contemplating a military career, wait four years and see who our next president is. The current president has no care for your welfare. And if your enlistment is up, take the skills you’ve learned and go elsewhere.

UPDATE:  Apropos my final suggestion, maybe military service is still worth the greater risks the Obami are creating.  In a National Review Online interview, Dan Senor and Saul Singer, authors of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, explain why the military is such an essential part of Israel’s incredible economic vitality:

LOPEZ: What’s the secret of its success?

DAN SENOR: Our book dives into many interacting factors, but one of the most important is the training and battlefield experience that most Israelis receive in the military. The military is where many Israelis learn to lead and manage people, improvise, become mission-oriented, work in teams, and contribute to their country. They tend to come out of their years of service (three for men, two for women) more mature and directed than their peers in other countries. They learn “the value of five minutes,” as one general told us. They even learn something more uniquely Israeli: to speak up — regardless of ranks and hierarchy — if they think things can be done better.

Certainly that jives with what I’ve seen of people who enter and leave our military.

When I was growing up, one of the neighborhood boys was a slacker before that term was invented. He was a bright kid who lay on the couch, watched TV and drank beer. When his parents kicked him out, he ended up joining the military because he thought it was a way to avoid “real” work. The military was the making of him. It gave him the discipline he’d sorely lacked before. When he got out, a long time later, he became one of the early dot com millionaires. He was never one of the huge players, but he also had moved so far beyond the couch slacker that it was hard to believe the two were the same people.

UPDATE II:  Please see a further discussion in the comments section to this post regarding the pros and cons of staying, not in the military, but in Obama’s military.  I think my point is valid, but I’m awfully impressed by the arguments coming in from the other side.

Get ‘er done — Bush and Obama; a study in contrasts

There’ve been accusations and counter-accusations flying about Obama fiddling while Afghanistan burns.  Cheney accuses him of being a do-nothing.  Gibb claims Bush did nothing.  Jake Tapper looked into the matter and discovered that, while Iraq was a priority, Bush indeed did little with troop requests, struggling to fill them, but only getting bout 1/5 of the way there.

Of course, that truth does little to put Obama into a better position.  The entire point of Obama’s year-and-a-half long campaign rhetoric regarding Afghanistan was that Bush was fighting the wrong war, channeling his energies away unnecessarily from Afghanistan, and that it would take Obama to get it right.

And here we have Obama, ten months into his presidency, and he still can’t get it right — on the war he himself tapped as the single most important battle front.  No wonder Lucianne is getting reams of hate mail just because she put on her home page that macho picture of Bush in a flight suit.  That picture is a brutal reminder that, when it came to his primary goal (Iraq) Bush accomplished his mission; Obama, meanwhile, accomplishes nothing.

A scathing indictment of our Commander in Chief’s wartime conduct

In Best of the Web Today, James Taranto politely savages Barack Obama’s absentee leadership as American troops live and die in the line of Taliban fire:

“The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said,” Reuters reports from aboard a U.S. military aircraft:

Gates did not say when he expected U.S. President Barack Obama to decide on whether to increase troops, a decision complicated by rising casualties and fading public support for the stalled, eight-year-old war.

But he pointed out that further high-level deliberations would need to wait for the return of cabinet members from foreign travels through part of next week.

“It’s just a matter now of getting the time with the president when we can sort through these options and then tee them up for him to make a decision,” Gates said.

But Agence France-Presse reports the president hasn’t yet chosen whether to choose not to decide:

President Barack Obama has not yet determined whether he will make a decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan before the November 7 election runoff, a US official said Tuesday.

“The UN, NATO, the US stand ready to assist the Afghans in conducting the second round,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

“Whether or not the president makes a decision before that I don’t think has been determined.

“I have continued to say a decision will be made in the coming weeks as the president goes through an examination of our policy,” he added.

It really bolsters your confidence in the president’s ability to achieve victory in what he used to call a war of necessity, doesn’t it?

But we suppose it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and snark. Barack Obama is president of the United States, and he is juggling all kinds of urgent responsibilities. Such as this one, reported by the New York Times:

Mr. Obama will fly to New York on Tuesday for a lavish Democratic Party fund-raising dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for about 200 big donors. Each donor is paying the legal maximum of $30,400 and is allowed to take a date.

And hey, if you don’t like it, grab a damn mop! As Obama said just last week at . . . uh, another lavish Democratic Party fund-raiser.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports from Washington that “frustrations and anxiety are on the rise within the military” as the president dithers over Afghanistan:

A retired general who served in Iraq said that the military had listened, “perhaps naïvely,” to Mr. Obama’s campaign promises that the Afghan war was critical. “What’s changed, and are we having the rug pulled out from under us?” he asked. Like many of those interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals from the military’s civilian leadership and the White House.

Shouldn’t it be the enemy that fears reprisals?

During the presidential campaign, Obama’s opponents mocked him for frequently voting “present” on difficult questions that came before the Illinois Senate. This is even worse. The commander in chief is absent without leave.

And, by the way, at least one New York Times reporter finally figured that those Taliban terrorists are not nice people.

Our President, too, is proving that he is not a nice person, but is, instead, a fairly reprehensible excuse for a human being.

US Soldiers in Afghanistan need your help

I blogged last week about Bravo Troop 361 Cavalry, the unit that was overrun by a horde of Taliban, and whose members stayed to fight despite their wounds.  As with all these stories, there’s a back story too, and the back story is that the guys in that fight didn’t lose just their friends, they also lost everything but the clothes on their backs.  They did a supply and morale infusion.  Some Soldier’s Mom has more information on what you can do to help.  Alternatively, you can just go here and send money.  Every penny counts, especially with the government pinching pennies at the troops’ expense.

Your help is enormously important.  It’s not just the material things that matter to the troops.  It’s the knowledge that people back home are paying attention, that we appreciate what our military is doing, and that we’ll do more than just sit around vapidly singing their praises.

Hat tip:  Radio Patriot

Jennifer Rubin on Obama’s approach to Afghanistan

As usual, the gal’s nailed it:

One almost gets the sense that the Obama team may have not learned anything from our recent experiences in two war theaters. It is not as if Donald Rumsfeld and a slew of generals didn’t try in Iraq to use the fewest possible troops, spend the least possible amount of taxpayer money, and get the most out of high-tech wizardry. Doesn’t the Obama team remember that this didn’t work, that a wholesale revision of strategy was needed and that only once a fully implemented counterinsurgency approach was employed did we achieve a victory? This sort of willful obtuseness is deeply troubling because there simply isn’t any viable military/strategic rationale for what the president is straining to do. It is a political approach plain and simple. He wants money for health care and he doesn’t want a revolt on the Left.

[snip]

That’s what we expect of a commander in chief: set a strategy, hire the best generals, get their advice, and implement it. But that doesn’t seem to be what we’re getting. We get equivocation, agonizing, and timidity — because the president would rather spend hundreds of billions on a health-care scheme Americans don’t support. No wonder the generals have gone to the newspapers. They must be searching in vain for some way to get the president to focus on what it takes to win the war that he declared to be critical. One can imagine they must be at their wits’ end. How does one respond to a president who, in essence, says he’d doesn’t have another strategy but another place he’d like to spend the money instead?

The word that comes up ever more frequently in connection with Obama (in articles from the Right and the moderate Left) is feckless:

feck⋅less /ˈfɛklɪs/ –adjective

1. ineffective; incompetent; futile: feckless attempts to repair the plumbing.
2. having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy.

It’s amazing how a single word can so completely sum up the president of the United States.

President Obama stages his own retreat from Afghanistan *UPDATED*

When Bush was in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan was the good war and Iraq was Vietnam.  Now that Bush is gone, and Iraq is holding stable (for the time being at least), the liberals can give over their pretense about the possibility of a good war and, instead, given in to their default and instinctive position, which is to recast Afghanistan at Vietnam.  Fine.  This is not the post I’m choosing to use to argue about whether or not the US should be in Afghanistan, or what its goals should be if it’s there.

Fortunately for me, I’m in the position to ignore things about goals, or troops, or any other big or small details about a War.  For me, thoughts about the war are academic, because it’s not my responsiblity.  It is, however, Barack Insane Obama’s responsibility and, to date, he’s shown that he absolutely refuses to step up to bat.  In other words, the situation with Obama is so bad that he’s not even doing a 1974 redux that sees America run away from a war.  Instead, our extraordinarily self-obsessed President is himself running away from the war.

You heard me right — Obama is staging his own retreat.  He refuses to talk to his generals about the situation.  Steve Schippert explains what’s going on, and also provides useful information about the things Obama thought were more important than even a quick phone call to those generals operating under him (because, though he’s pretending it ain’t so, he is still Commander in Chief).

UPDATE:  Flopping Aces has a good timeline — with quotes! — showing the Obama’s own personal war game, from gung-ho blood lust to strategic retreat, all without any expenditure of actual energy on his part.

Rage from the Right — by guest blogger COL. USAF (RET)

In this world of instant messages, communications, and news coverage, where nothing held back from the viewer and where the phrase “The public has the right to know” is seen as some sort of sacred trust, we have profaned our selves and our society to the god of success. When this is matched with the ubiquitous left slant of anything with a major audience, I tend to suffer periods of rage. Success seems to be defined by the ability to have YouTube, facebook, media, and twitter followers in the millions and enough cash on hand to spend extravagantly without recourse to any sort of “common sense” (which I have become convinced is not at all that common). To continue this diatribe I have seen some things over the past few weeks that have really set me off.

1. There is no restraint because, after all, we might miss some critical element if we used such a thing.  Nothing is out of reason.

A young man, mortally wounded and lying on the battlefield has no privacy. This is a picture worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, or whatever award there is for morbid photography.  After all this is NEWS! “What about his parents and other family members?” “Forget it, this could…get me money, make me famous, increase my circulation, set me up for life.”  Just pick one of the responses that some despicable, cockroach of an editor would use.  “Humanity, dignity…PAH! just gets in the way.  How can I get rich and famous if I have to play using those outmoded rules?  Rules are for suckers, and I know better.”

I don’t know if thoughts of that sort went through the minds of those who were responsible for the despicable act of printing those pictures, but I believe that the media gods of news, “right to know” and fame all went through those minds. What is truly a sign of the times is that the people responsible actually heard from the family who requested that the picture not be published and after considered review some still printed it.

Maybe the ideal of a genteel society is way 1950s, but a certain amount of restraint and civility would be nice to see once in a while.  In the same way, but not as tragic, I just don’t need to see three days of funerals for people I would be ashamed of calling my friends.

2. The same week had news stories about UN lawyers (who are worse than ordinary lawyers, some of whom I’ve learned aren’t all bad), with true malevolence in their hearts (or whatever substitutes in them for that organ), from some country or philosophy that has a bone to pick with the US, see our military as the perfect way to get back at any real or imagined slight or offense they think America has committed. Their target is conduct by troops in battle.

If you have never been in combat, it is exhilarating and scary at the same time.  My combat was not as close in as the ground troops, but I understand that feelings run hot in combat.  Occasionally things go wrong, and I certainly would not condone that, but the best people to review / punish the wrong doer are not those who have never been shot at, never seen that life or death moment up close and personal.

When these … UN parasites came to Bosnia (yes, I was involved in some of that also) they did not really go after the man in the field, they went after the bosses, the generals, the Secretary of Defense, and even the President. They accused them of “war crimes” because we were on the other side of the political fence.  The International Criminal Court is an unspeakable mockery of what used to be justice in the US.

It used to be said that the winning side wrote the history of the conflict.  No more.  Now, it is the Left leaning historians in conjunction with the Left leaning National Education Association of teachers that explain how we, even if we did win, were the worst sort of humans possible.  Well, there is some solace, I don’t think that the UN will go after our President this time, even if he probably intends to leave the Afghanistanis out to hang.  This will give the terrorists such a boost that all we can expect a future with more and more of the same.  Next it will be 3 or maybe 4 Al-Quada groups in the US, and the really horrible thing is that some of them will be US citizens.  Enough!

3. I delayed writing this third point so I could get some of the violent passion out of it, but passion doesn’t go away when the news (or maybe rumor) is about a US unilateral nuclear disarmament.  I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in airplanes on airfields that weren’t nice, cushy, American garden-spots, but were, instead, hell holes, defending and being an integral part of our nuclear force.  I spent a sizable portion of my life in some not very nice places displaying a military presence, and I don’t like it that someone is trying to give up that protection because of a distorted and profane view of the world.

One of the reasons we have such a difficult time in the world is that Americans generally tend to judge people in other countries against a very Ameri-centric viewpoint.  It doesn’t work when judging the efforts of other religions, nor does it work while judging other countries who view us as the enemy to be defeated.  With just a little travel, open mindedness, observation, and a smattering of intelligence, that childish world view should go away.  The world is not a very nice place.  People are not our friends.  I do not advocate sending the military in for every little thing and beating up friends and enemies alike (as Clinton did).  Far from it. The most pacifistic people I know are those who have to go and risk their very lives defending our country. I know that I don’t know many Left wing pacifists, but I have eyes and ears, and I can recognize them when they make the news.  I guess it’s good that I no longer watch much TV, although football season is here.

4. One of the worst things that I have heard about recently has to do with our troops on the ground.  I am one who advocates that unless we get those dirty boots on the ground, we win nothing.  Anyway, in this bright new world, in the combat zones, we are overly concerned with Rules of Engagement (ROE).  We need rules of war (engagement) so that we do not become like the ones we are fighting.  What has to be taken into account, though, is that the ROE’s have to adapt when your enemy violates every precept of the accepted ROE and fights from churches and schools.  Instead of adapting so that we can fight these tactics, wee go out of our way to add more and more restrictions, effectively handcuffing our people.

Not only that, but when we send them to untenable situations, we don’t protect them when they do get in a fight. Currently, in Afghanistan, we have some of those added ROE.  If there is a possibility that some civilians may be in the field of view of our weapons, we hold weapons tight (no expending).  What does that do? Well the enemy just needs to be in the vicinity of civilians and fire at will.  We cannot counterattack, we can’t use artillery or air support because there is a chance — mark that, a chance — that some civilians will get hurt. In the case of ambushes, we lose.

All of this is especially difficult when our enemy look just like the civilians, not just physically, but in manner of dress also.  A precept of the Geneva Conventions that many in this great country seem to disregard is that the enemy has to be uniformed to get Geneva Benefits.  If they are fighting in civilian garb, they are outlaws and have no Geneva Convention Benefits. I do not believe that we can or should go in and kill everyone in an area, but we must be able to protect our young men and women in combat situations.  They are OUR CHILDREN.

5. Lastly, recently there was a NYT reporter who went where he was warned against going.   He just had to get the story, and maybe become this generation’s Ernie Pyle. Did he get his story?  I guess he did.  Was it worth it?  Ask the family of his translator who was killed, or the family of the young British soldier who was killed during his rescue.  This was so utterly pointless.  Why did he go where it wasn’t safe for a story that will be forgotten in a month?  Was this bit of journalistic grandstanding worth two, maybe three lives?  Did he know that if he got into trouble the military would get him out?  This was a reporter from the NYTimes, not a credible newsprint organization and one that has a definite anti-military/anti-American outlook.  What the heck was he doing there, and what the heck was his goal?  Do you think he and his employers even appreciated that we, the capitalistic, repressive, just plain bad military, risked our people to get him to safety?  I actually had someone in my office send around his report and say how good it was.  That was followed by a reminder of the cost and comment on whether the story was worth it.

It has not been a great couple of weeks.  My hope is that, even if congress (nope won’t capitalize it) passes Obamacare, that before it can be enacted to any great degree the next Congress, with considerably fewer Ds, will rescind it. Maybe we can get SCOTUS to take a hack first.  But the former will only occur if we vote the … buggers out.  So get your neighborhoods organized and tell the real story of what is going on.

Charles Krauthammer lays out Obama’s warped priorities re American wars & foreign policy

My belief, getting stronger by the minute, is that Obama’s sole Afghanistan policy was to be the un-Bush.  Bush’s critics claimed Iraq was the bad war and Afghanistan the good war.  So Obama immediately stated that he’d focus on Afghanistan.  Obama, though, true Leftist that he is, and with his deep affinity for totalitarian rulers and Islamism, never had his heart in Afghanistan.  So, as Bush’s presidency recedes into the past, Obama abandons Afghanistan — and our troops too.  What a despicable man.

Kids make great targets — if you’re the Taliban

The American and world media go into a screaming frenzy whenever American or Israeli troops injure or kill a child.  They do this despite the fact that such incidents are rare and, more significantly, they are aberrant:  both the American and the Israeli military go out of their way to avoid injuring civilians, even if it means putting their own troops at greater risk.

The same media outlets conspicuously avoid reporting on an ugly little fact about the world’s Islamic fighters, whether those fighters are in Bali or Gaza or Indonesia or Iraq or Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world:  these fighters consider children either an integral part of the fight (whether as cover, junior fighters or propaganda instruments) or as completely irrelevant collateral damage in any fight.

The following video shows a Taliban fighter casually activating a rocket despite the fact that a child is directly in the line of fire:

In case you were worried, a worry that distinguishes you from the Taliban killer aiming at one of his own countrymen (or country-children), the child survived the bombing, American medics treated him on site, and he ended up being airlifted to America for further treatment.

Hat tip:  Soldier’s Angels Germany

Why not victory

Bruce Kesler sent around an email asking whether we thought victory was possible in Afghanistan.  My reply was that I don’t think the Democrats can conceive of victory as a possible outcome.  As I wrote to him, I’m the child of parents who fought in WWII and the Israeli War of Independence.  Although they were bone-deep Dems and loathed Goldwater, they too understood that the only way to fight a war is to win.  Otherwise, you’re just sacrificing your own troops needlessly in an endless slow bleed.

I don’t think the Democrats are capable of conceiving an outcome to a war that is tantamount to “victory.”  To them, all wars are failures because they are . . . wars.  This means that there are no strategic goals that the Democrats can contemplate that will justify continuing to fight a war.  They will therefore approach war in a half-hearted way, waiting, not to win, but to withdraw.

Obama’s support for the war in Afghanistan has never been a committed belief in the necessity of destroying the Taliban there and protecting Pakistan.  It has always been a political move to distinguish himself from Bush:  “Bush never focused on the real war.  That’s why I focus on that war.”  Obama, though, is a Democrat and believes that all wars are unwinnable, so he’s doing the Democratic thing.  He’s throwing in bodies, but actively supporting cutting costs and appeasing the enemy.

Taking own his practical experience in Vietnam, and his breadth and depth of knowledge, Bruce came up with a post that intelligently develops my own instinctive feeling that, with war, as with pregnancy, you can’t just be “a little bit” engaged in that situation.  It’s an all or nothing proposition.  I urge you to check out Bruce’s post and cast your vote on the side of true victory in Afghanistan.

It turns out that, in a little corner of Afghanistan, there’ll always be an England

Before their cultural implosion, the English had a reputation for bravery and sangfroid.  Although they are taking a beating in Afghanistan (in large part because the morally bankrupt Labour government refuses to give them necessary support), the troops on the ground are still fighting, dying and showing extraordinary bravery under terrible circumstances:

An heroic army medic treated seven injured comrades after a Taliban attack in Afghanistan despite being wounded with shrapnel herself, it emerged today.

Lance Corporal Sally Clarke, of 2 Rifles, ignored the searing pain caused by the shards embedded in her shoulder and back and set about treating the rest of her patrol.

The worst hit was Corporal Paul Mather who incredibly managed to radio instructions for jets circling above to open fire on Taliban insurgents despite bleeding heavily from wounds the size of his fist.

Read more here.

The world continues to be too insane for satire

During the 1970s, there was a post-Yom Kippur War joke that was very popular in Jewish circles:

Arab soldiers realized that at least half the Israeli troops they were fighting were named David.  They decided to use this information to deal with situations in whch they were facing Israeli fighters who were hidden from sight.  The order came down from on high that Arabs were to holler out “Hey, David!”  When the Israeli soldier stood up or waved in answer, he would get shot.  Alas, the best laid plans….

When the Arab soldiers hollered out “Hey, David!”, the Israeli soldiers, instead of standing up or waving, would hell back, “Is that you, Mohammed?”  The Arab fighters would instantly stand up and wave, at which point they’d get shot.

It’s a pretty awkward joke, but it came to mind almost irresistibly when I read this news story:

Taleban insurgents fighting German forces in northern Afghanistan have often lived to fight another day thanks to trilingual warnings that have to be shouted out before the men from the Bundeswehr can squeeze their triggers.

The seven-page pocket guide to combat tucked into the breast pocket of every German soldier offers such instructions as: “Before opening fire you are expected to declare loudly, in English, ‘United Nations — stop, or I will fire,’ followed by a version in Pashtu — Melgaero Mellatuna — Dreesch, ka ne se dasee kawum!

The alert must also be issued in Dari, and the booklet, devised by a committee in some faraway ministerial office, adds: “If the situation allows, the warning should be repeated.” The joke going round NATO mess tents poses the question: “How can you identify a German soldier? He is the corpse clutching a pocket guide.”

Max Boot, who brought this story to my attention, thought that the story was a joke, but it’s not.  The only good news is that Germans are relaxing the above requirements so that they can actually kill the bad guys, while preserving their own lives.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what it means to live in a world that sees yesterday’s jokes as today’s reality — with ourselves as the butt of every punch line.  I’m pretty darn sure, though, that it’s not a good thing when it comes to long-term survival.

“Let’s not, but let’s say that we did.” *UPDATE*

Rusty Shackleford is spitting bullets about the fact that the Taliban have kidnapped Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl and are parading him for propaganda purposes.  Although it’s easy to get all tangled up about international law and whether the Geneva Convention should extend to these people, Dr. Shackleford gets to the core point, which is the fact that America’s enemies have an American — and we should do something about it, dammit!

As for me, I hope that the Obama administration doesn’t take its default position and fall back on words as the primary way to deal with the situation.  Both Daniel Henninger and James Taranto opined on Obama’s continued belief that the thought equals the deed.  Here’s Henninger:

Here’s the problem: Mr. Obama is not the nation’s Speaker in Chief. He’s not a senator, and he’s no longer a candidate. He’s the president. A president’s major speeches are different than those of anyone else. That high office imposes demands beyond the power of a podium. Inspiration matters, but the office also requires acts of leadership. A U.S. president’s words must be connected to something beyond sentiment and eloquence. Too much of the time, Barack Obama’s big speeches don’t seem to be connected to anything other than his own interesting thoughts on some subject.

And here’s Taranto giving the perfect example of this practice in play:

On his trip to Ghana last weekend, President Obama delivered a well-received speech. He also gave an interview to CNN, in which he discussed slavery and its legacy, as the network is reporting today:

On his trip in Ghana, Obama said the nation and the world should never forget the scourge of slavery because it’s still relevant in today’s world.

I think that the experience of slavery is like the experience of the Holocaust. I think it’s one of those things you don’t forget about. I think it is important that the way we think about it and the way it’s taught is not one in which there’s simply a victim and a victimizer, and that’s the end of the story,” he said.

“I think the way it has to be thought about, the reason it’s relevant is because whether it’s what’s happening in Darfur or what’s happening in the Congo or what’s happening in too many places around the world–you know, the capacity for cruelty still exists.”

“So trying to use these kinds of extraordinary moments to widen the lens and make sure that we’re all reflecting on how we are treating each other, I think, is something I want my kids to think about and I want every child to think about.”

This whole comment underscores one of the things that bothers us most about Obama. He says that slavery is “relevant” to today’s humanitarian crises in places like Darfur and Congo. For the sake of argument, let’s accept that this is true. What are we supposed to do?

Well, we’re supposed to “never forget” slavery, to “think about it,” to improve “the way it’s taught,” to “widen the lens,” to “make sure we’re all reflecting.” Oh, and he wants “every child to think about” it.

By Obama’s lights, then, it would seem that understanding slavery is important because it yields an endless supply of endless abstractions with which to respond ineffectually to contemporary humanitarian crises. While every child is thinking about this stuff, is the president of the United States doing anything?

We need to believe that the military can push Obama into acting, not just talking.  It’s impossible to govern a nation by falling back on a teenager’s snarky comeback to the effect that “Let’s not, but let’s say that we did.”

UPDATE:  I used Bowe Bergdahl as the springboard to riff about Obama’s reliance on words, not deeds, despite the fact that he holds the nation’s chief executive position.  I stand by what I said about Obama (and am thinking that perhaps we should be grateful that he’s not acting on everything he talks about), but the Bergdahl thing might prove to be more complicated.

Michelle Malkin posts at length about hints that Bergdahl may not just be a POW, but may be a complicit deserter.  Given the current factual vacuum, now is probably the time to withhold all judgment one way or another.  I’ll be interested as more news comes out.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Is the Obama administration playing games?

Greyhawk is trying to put the pieces together in Iraq and Afghanistan when it comes to troop rotation.  Right now, on the information available, it looks as if their’s some sleight of hand going on with regarding to troop movements and the American public.  What do you think?

In the mid-19th Century, Palmerston called the manuverings between Russia and England over Central Asia “the great game.”  It looks as if the Obama administration is so self involved, the only game it’s playing is a shell game with itself and the American people.

The reality-based candidate

It’s no longer a phrase heard much anymore, but the Progressives used to title themselves “the reality based community.” They understood the real world, unlike the cruel, self-centered, self-serving conservatives surrounding them. Of course, that being the case, Obama must be the reality based candidate. However, Cheat-Seeking Missiles, riffing off a Washington Post editorial, points out that, when it comes to Middle Eastern policy, Obama is anything but grounded in reality:

The editorial winds up for several paragraphs before delivering this closer:

Yet Mr. Obama’s account of his strategic vision remains eccentric. He insists that Afghanistan is “the central front” for the United States, along with the border areas of Pakistan. But there are no known al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, and any additional U.S. forces sent there would not be able to operate in the Pakistani territories where Osama bin Laden is headquartered. While the United States has an interest in preventing the resurgence of the Afghan Taliban, the country’s strategic importance pales beside that of Iraq, which lies at the geopolitical center of the Middle East and contains some of the world’s largest oil reserves. If Mr. Obama’s antiwar stance has blinded him to those realities, that could prove far more debilitating to him as president than any particular timetable.

Other than choosing the word “eccentric” when so many other words would have worked better (thick-headed, flabbergasting, laughable, cro-zo), that pretty much nails it. You have in Obama a candidate who is clueless regarding the threats we face and the best means to face them, who wants so much to not be Bush that he refuses to acknowledge reality.

I for one would rather have a president who makes the mistake of calling out a fool all by himself instead of assigning the task to a surrogate, than one who tramples over Pakistan – a nuclear-armed nation that’s just barely holding of an Islamist uprising – to hunt for Osama bin Laden, who has done nothing more threatening than issuing tapes lately.

You can read the rest of Laer’s post here.

Make a difference to the troops in Afghanistan

The New York Times has attacked veterans at home as homeless people, substance abusers and killers.  Apparently those attacks have not sated its blood lust.  Instead, the Times has directed its demoralization efforts at paratroopers in Iraq, troops who are already suffering under very difficult field conditions.  Fortunately, as Blackfive explains, you can help with some morale building:

Please send an email of support to skysoldiers173rd@gmail.com

Or you can mail cards to:

    Leta Carruth
    P O Box 100
    Cordova, TN  38088

Due to security reasons in Afghanistan please do not put addresses or phone numbers on any correspondence.  All emails will be printed out here in the US and mailed to Afghanistan as they do not have the resources to receive a large number of emails.  All letters and emails will be vetted to make sure there are no negative comments.  These are letters of support, so please keep them positive and uplifting.

Sounds like a plan to me.