Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Lots o' links at Instapundit, with this helpful observation:
Brilliant choice by the President. He removes his hand-picked choice for someone he had no confidence in just 2 years ago.
Don't fail to take this trip down memory lane.
This is a demotion for Petraeus. And he's demoted by the guy who left the room instead of voting to denounce move-on for the ad. And he's apparently demoted to a job where he is expected to follow a policy created by folks to who don't want to win the war if it means any violence, and who wouldn't know how to win a war if violence were permitted.
The general worth listening to is now under proper civilian control by civilians not worth listening to.
What a mess.
Yes indeed...the problem with replacing McChrystal is that he was basically correct in his assessments.
True, he was incorrect in his public disgust.
It's pretty easy to see why we stopped winning wars after WW2.
I don't know how correct or wrong McChrystal was in his assessments or conduct of the war, but it is surprising both that the Pentagon would endorse bringing Petraeus over to AfPak and that Petraeus himself would do it. As I asked earlier, "do we only have one general"?
In the case of the military, I can only assume Obama and the Joint Chiefs agreed on more independence for the theater commander from WH meddling, for example in allowing significant latitude in setting the rules of engagement that have so irritated everyone and their brother, in exchange for ignoring the younger generals itching for their chance for glory. And as far as the second point goes, I assume Petraeus will get the ambassador he wants so as not to be burdened by the Eikenbury-type issues and also the ability to determine more of what happens next July than McChrystal was ever going to have influence over. Hopefully, Bite-me gets told to stand quietly in the corner from here on out.
In other words, I expect this change will be followed quietly but quickly by others.
If Petraeus pulls our bacon out of the fire again he writes his own ticket from here on out. Anyone in America disagree with that?
The rules under which we are fighting in Afghanistan result in an unwinnable situation:
1)Get out by x time. This was an incredibly stupid move by the Administration, because it meant that all the Taliban had to do was wait it out.
2) Increasingly stringent rules of engagement which basically stop us from firing at Taliban if there are civilians in the area.
The wild card in Afghanistan is and always has been our "allies" in Pakistan.
With such a no-win situation, it doesn't matter if we put General Lee and General Grant in there, let alone General Petraeus.
My sense of this is that Obama has made Petraeus--and the American expedition into Afghanistan--politically untouchable. I don't think Obama can fire Petraeus now, or even hold Petraeus to his mindless deadlines for pulling out of Afghanistan--without severe political blowback.
Seems to me that Petraeus now has the juice to ask for, and receive, just about anything he thinks he needs to bring the American expedition in Afghanistan to something approximating an acceptable conclusion--however long it takes. And if Obama is smart, he'll swallow real hard and give Petraeus exactly what he asks for.
But I'm not convinced Obama is that smart.
I'm considerably more cynical. I think the administration has already written Afghanistan off as a black hole and intends to throw in the towel after a minimum showing. In this context, the establishment of a withdrawal deadline and restrictive rules of engagement make sense; why waste the lives of soldiers on a war you plan to lose?
At best, Petraeus will serve as a shield for Obama. 'If he couldn't do it, no one could.'
At worst, a scapegoat. 'We lost Afghanistan on Petraeus's watch.'
Placing him in command also loads him with additional responsibilities and hopefully (from Obama's perspective) prevents him from challenging for the White House in 2012. The second of these possibilities has the added bonus of reducing Petraeus's political stature by blaming him for the loss.
Sleazy, but unsurprising.
Someone who failed to read the "trip down memory lane" link might assume it confirms the claim that Obama had no confidence in Petraeus two years ago. It doesn't, and simply because he disagreed with Petraeus on some aspects of the Iraq drawdown doesn't prove the statement.
I'm not saying one way or another what opinion Obama expressed during the campaign about Petraeus, only that no confirmation's been offered.
Gary, I don't recall you proving your point the first time around, but it's been such a long time that I've forgotten most of that discussion. Give a link and I'll take a look again.
For that matter, you could also give a link demonstrating that Obama said two years ago that he had no confidence in Petraeus.
JP- why don't you let Gary provide the proof then, and judge for yourself?
I skimmed the archives but didn't find the discussion. As I recall it though, Gary challenged me to a bet that we agreed would be about whether the American left was more anti-semitic to Jewish Americans than the American right. I said I didn't have a strong sense on way or another, but was willing to do a token bet. Somebody then supplied irrelevant information about attitudes to Israel. I eventually found information from conservative science blogger Razib Khan that suggested little difference between left and right.
Hope that's helpful.
"why don't you let Gary provide the proof then"
I provided proof - a link to a poll showing markedly greater antisemtism among Democrats than Republicans.
"I eventually found information from conservative science blogger Razib Khan that suggested little difference between left and right."
What "information"? From some "science blogger"??
Two words - Helen Thomas.