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27 September 2010

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PS

The other takeaway from the article, though, is that Obama, Lute, and Cartwright lost.

I have a feeling that if the election had gone the other way 40k would have been the starting point.

Patrick Lang

PS

Obama lost because he did not order their compliance with his wishes. pl

FB Ali

Andrew Bacevich makes the same point in his piece on the book. He says it raises the question "whether the Constitution remains an operative document. The Constitution explicitly assigns to the president the role of commander-in-chief. Responsibility for the direction of American wars rests with him. According to the principle of civilian control, senior military officers advise and execute, but it's the president who decides".

The article is worth reading at:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175300/

Jake

Colonel....

"Obama lost because he did not order their compliance with his wishes."

No Colonel the American people and their sons and daughters who are serving in theater lost.

Its coming to a point where Jefferson's Letter to Madison "A Little Rebellion Now and Then Is A Good Thing" should be on the horizon. The issue is will the leaders of this rebellion have all their neurons firing? Or are we to face the "mirror" as the enemy?

William R. Cumming

So we still don't know what the "in" option consists of and what the "out" option consists of!


Seems like basic dishonesty in the flag ranks to me but could be and hoping to be wrong!

b

Whatever happened in the decision process, the White House approved release of this Woodward piece is a preparation to set those Generals and Gates up for a pretty soon retirement.

It prepares the argument that will be used when the will finally be kicked from the system.

John

I think we are just seeing Byzantium lite right now. Many of the SPQA (that's Senatus Populusque Americanae) still think we have a republic.
BTW, that's not SPCA, but it may as well be.

Patrick Lang

b

Not sure what you mean by approved. Once people gave Woodward access there was really no way to stop him. pl

Howler

Lifted this from OTB:
Quote of the Day, Petraeus Edition

“The canonization of Petraeus has got to stop. He follows in the footsteps of Colin Powell who mastered the art of Beltway schmoozing and press management. But at least Powell won a war where Petraeus has so far lost two.”
– Andrew Sullivan

Thanks to Woodward (and your correspondents), a clearer picture of the good general is emerging.

Castellio

Get rid of Gates yesterday. In the room, he's carrying more power than the President, and his goals are different.

Adam L Silverman

Sir,

The other interesting item at the link that Brigadier Ali put up in his comment is this from Mr. Englehardt as part of the intro to Professor Bacevich's piece:
"But where did the story actually begin? Well, here’s the strange thing: in a sense, Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, which focuses heavily on an administration review of Afghan war policy in the fall of 2009, begins with... Woodward."

It seems that Mr. Woodward, acting as WaPo reporter at the time was the recipient of the leak of the McChrystal Plan, which he then turned into an article for the WaPo. In all of this Woodward is not acting as a reporter or as a chronicler of recent political history, rather he's one of the actors in the drama and in this case he has helped to undermine a president's authority and constrain his policy choices.

Norbert N, Salamon

If economic prognostications are reflecting reality with respect to the NEW NORMAL [e.g declining GDP], by 2011 Petraeus, Gates, Mullen et al will be enjoying retirement, for it be clear that the USA CAN NOT AFFORD, IRAQ, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and possibly IRAN.

These salwarts of the Military Industrial Complex [a ruthless cabal vs the average citizen] best hope that the unemployment rate does not go to 10+% [or that the EMPLOYED participation rate in the working population does not fall any more] else they are TOAST.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Ideology, Denial, Incompetence or just knowing what side your bread is buttered; America is ill served by its current Politicians, Officer Corps, Corporate Media and Military Contractors.

If Afghanistan is a Just War then it has to be fought to deny radical Islamists political control of the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. COIN Manuals indicate a minimum of 500,000 troops are required but since Mountain People have a history of defeating invaders more like a million troops are needed (General Westmoreland’s dream number for South Vietnam). The rural people have to be cleansed into Strategic Hamlets or Urban Hellholes (Kabul/Kandahar/Karachi). Since the War will last for generations it has to be paid for by raising taxes and reinstating the draft (including women).

By the simple fact that the USA is not doing what is necessary to win the Just War, indicates that Washington DC either is not seeing reality or is intentional lying to American citizens because war is the only jobs program/slush fund that both political parties can agree on. Thus, an unwinnable colonial war continues, unending, with all the vibrations from past wars from Vietnam to the American Revolution.

Meanwhile, Mr. Woodward rakes in money selling "he said, she said" tabloids.

b

@Pat - you say:

"b - Not sure what you mean by approved. Once people gave Woodward access there was really no way to stop him. pl"

Woodward wants to write two books about each administration. The first one is always positive as only that guarantees him access to write the second one, likely a bit more negative or at least more scandal based (sells better).

Publishing a first "inside the Obama administration" putting Obama into a bad light, would have made Woodward's inside view access for the second book impossible.

That is why I think the content of this Woodward book was quite carefully vetted by the White House.

Some hints on that were in this WaPo piece that ran five days ago: White House doesn't dispute Woodward book's portrayal of Obama

Many of Obama's senior advisers have already obtained and read the book, "Obama's Wars," and are satisfied with the image it conveys of the president, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Woodward is just a whore like all the other usual Washington actors.

walrus

From the Bacevich article referenced by Gen. Ali:

"According to the principle of civilian control, senior military officers advise and execute, but it's the president who decides."

The FoxNews meme immediately comes to mind:

"We report, you decide."

The Generals are not going to go quietly into the night. They plan to be the king-makers in 2012, that is if one of their number, perhaps a newly retired Gen. Petreaus, doesn't run for President himself.

 Spafford

Via ABC News, looks like the generals and politicos now are facing Afgan version of "Abu Ghraib" with the Army hearings opening up on "war crimes" that used Afgan civilians for target practice. Notice one of the soldiers is from Wasila, Alaska. Wonder what former mayor/Alaska Gov Palin will say about the ravages of war and it's effects on her homegrown?

robt willmann

I was going to make the comment of FB Ali and Adam Silverman, but they put it up first.

Bob Woodward provided the high decibel megaphone for the leaking of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's report of the Afghanistan situation when he wrote the Washington Post story of 21 September 2009 with a lead paragraph supporting the escalation--

"The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict 'will likely result in failure,' according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post."

The whole article should be here--

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/20/AR2009092002920.html

Norbert N, Salamon

Notice China is expanding her efforts to make the yuan into international currency:

http://www.economist.com/node/17093527

This might make USD less attractive and cause untold headaches in Washington [has raminifactions for the DoD budget fiasco]/.

Patrick Lang

Spafford

The Army is not "holding hearings." These men are going to be given a general court-martial for murder. Try to get your head screwed on right. pl

Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

It will be interesting to see if the CinC learned anything from his first encounter with Gates and the Generals. Clearly, he already knows the "non-option options" drill. Perhaps after seeing more troops killed and rising opposition at home, he'll defy the options the brass will present and instead dictate some decisions to them. Firing General Stanley and putting General Dave in supreme (accountable) command indicates some glimmer of recognition.

The real test is coming quick. After the mid-terms, we're going to see 2006 all over again (to surge or not to surge into Afghanistan). I predict General Dave will trot out his tired out plan, again, and Admiral Mike will do nothing to make waves. It will be up to the CinC to call their bluff.

RP

Cold War Zoomie

After reading this, I need a drink. But it's barely after 8am.

I still have my standards.

 Spafford

Col,
My mistake for the above use of term "hearings" instead of court martial, as I was repeating words from ABC headline--should know better than to depend upon the poorly functioning news media.

PS

Part II wasn't any better. Are colonels really supposed to tell POTUS that he isn't in a position to overrule his military chain? What does Commaner-in-Chief mean if you can't make the final call on this type of thing?

Stanley Henning

Where were our pol-mil and intelligence "experts" when we most needed them,
or were they there and ignored? This is inexcusable! This whole mess is a reflection
of ignorance and incompetence.

Jake

On the subject of Afghanistan... what is the real skinny on this book?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315391/Pentagon-destroys-9-500-copies-Lt-Col-Anthony-Shaffers-Afghanistan-book.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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