Some good info from Jake Tapper:
In Wednesday’s meeting, Pentagon officials presented more details about four strategies — two from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and two others — but President Obama was not satisfied with their assessments.
Specicially, he pushed the generals to clarify how and when U.S. troops would be able to turn over responsibility to the Afghan government.
“The key sticking points appear to be timelines and mounting questions about the credibility of the Afghan government,” an administration official said, adding that the President “wants to make it clear that the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan is not open-ended. After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time to ensure a successful transition to our Afghan partner.”
I’m sure this will be met in greater Wingnuttia with abject horror, as they all have their marching orders from the Cheneys and will need to pursue the “dithering” story line no matter what. In fact, a quick perusal find that Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive is very close to soiling his camouflaged knickers:
If this is true then just about all the worst fears we had about Obama as Commander in Chief are coming true.
Meanwhile, Colonel Mustard, with his years of military and geopolitical training, offers up his sage advice:
Will someone tell our President this is not a term paper. You don’t get to move the paragraphs around, tweak the punctuation, and cut and paste until it reads just right.
I’m sure there is more, but why bother digging it all up? And while the usual suspects are all getting the vapors, it is probably worth remembering that the conservative position, back when there were actual conservatives, and not just reactionary loudmouths and know-nothing war-mongering idiots, was to weigh all the options before making momentous and important decisions. We even used to call it the “Powell Doctrine”:
The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:
1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7. Is the action supported by the American people?
8. Do we have genuine broad international support?
Funny that. Caspar Weinberger and Colin Powell, both of whom served under St. Ronald of Reagan, the man who single-handedly beat the Soviets. Now granted, the Powell Doctrine was there because some folks in the Pentagon and in the National Security apparatus actually learned some lessons from Viet Nam, and tried to avoid making that same mistake again. In fact, as Jake Tapper notes, someone with more brains than the 101st Chairborne is urging Obama to take his time:
“This is a very difficult one for him,” Powell said. “And it isn’t just a one-time decision. This is the decision that will have consequences for the better part of his administration. So Mr. President, don’t get pushed by the left to do nothing; don’t get pushed by the right to do everything. You take your time and you figure it out. You’re the commander-in-chief and this is what you were elected for.”
Powell said he had “advised him is to not be rushed into a decision because this one is the decision that will have consequences for years to come.”
The fact that Obama is concerned with details like timelines and a schedule for handing over control makes me feel about as positive as I have regarding the Afghan dilemma in a long, long time.