Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Specter, Sestak, Lentz, Meehan on Obama's War Strategy

Local candidates for national office weigh in on Obama's 30,000-soldier surge and timetable to leave Afghanistan. Says Sen. Arlen Specter:
“It is unrealistic to expect the United States to be out in 18 months, so there is really no exit strategy. This venture is not worth so many American lives or the billions it will add to our deficit.”
Democrats are always talking about "exit strategies" when it comes to war, never winning them.

Says Rep. Joe Sestak:
"If we leave al-Qaeda behind in a safe haven and are struck again, what can we ever say to those we swore to protect? From the outset of this debate, I have called for a strategy that is focused on al-Qaeda in Pakistan, is not overly dependent on nation-building in Afghanistan and is not open-ended. The president stated similar goals.”
The president was all over the map, trying to be the responsible leader of the free world while trying to placate the irresponsible anti-war left wing of his party with an announced 2011 time-table for withdrawal.

Congressional candidate Bryan Lentz said:
“And the objective of the timetable is not the enemy, the objective is the people and the leaders of Afghanistan,” Lentz said. “They need to have a motivation, they need to know our assistance and our soldiers fighting (will) not go on forever. At some point, they have to stand up, and nothing motivates like knowing there’s a deadline approaching.”
Hard to imagine FDR or Lincoln announcing time-tables for WWII or the Civil War to end.

And finally, former Specter chief of staff, Pat Meehan running for Sestak's vacated seat:
The Afghanistan government does not, at this point in time, have anywhere near the security forces trained and capable of containing the insurgency as it currently presents itself, and their is a plan to turn that over, but it will require real commitment from the (Afghani President Hamid) Karzai government to enable that to happen. The challenge is going to be holding them accountable to doing so.

“He’s (Obama) ultimately created a point in which the determination would be made by conditions on the ground. I do think there was a resolute tone in his presentation, which should send a signal, but the insurgents are waiting to see the degree of genuine commitment and that is going to be only understood over time and with success.”
The problem wasn't in the President's tone. It was the process over which he publicly agonized and dithered over the decision for months. It's impossible to know how resolute he is. And when the going gets tough in six months or a year, when casualties start to mount and his fellow Democrats start to demand immediately withdraw, we'll see how resolute our Commander in Chief is.

8 Comments:

Blogger steve mcdonald said...

remember, its not a 'surge'. wrong adjective! it does the same but it's not that word! Still, should we channel Obama's remarks when W did it just to see what he thought of it then? Is this really 'change'? While I agree that this surge is necessary if they want to stabilize Afghanistan for the long term, I just get a kick out of the 180-stance of the Commander in Chief on this one. Since this is a pro-combat move, will someone like Mr. Diano flip his stance on the President like he did with Joe Sestak? If Diano wanted Sestak to vote down bills providing funding for weapons and armor, surely he would disapprove of this action!

Gutsy revealing an end-date, almost like Andy Reid revealing that he's going to pass the ball 50+ times a game - if Obama plays poker, I'm in, man, how can I not win if his strategy is to reveal his hole cards everytime? Let's just hope the insurgents are as naive as our leadership and doesn't think about 'waiting it out'.

December 2, 2009 at 9:00 AM 
Blogger /mr said...

Define "win", Spence.

December 2, 2009 at 9:23 AM 
Blogger A Nonymous said...

Steve-
Where's the 180-flip?

During the campaign, Obama always said that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the real dangers requiring our focus, and Iraq took resources from the real battle.

Obama is also not making an open-ended commitment to perpetual war without an exit strategy.

I think when Obama gets Bin Laden after Bush dropped the ball at Tora Bora, the anti-Obama crowd is going to health care for their heart attacks and exploding heads.

I'd pull all the troops out of Iraq and ship them to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and search everybody trying to cross.

Sestak says he's not for open-ended conflict, but he's also been saying he doesn't like Obama setting a timetable. So, I've got no idea on Sestak's position.

December 2, 2009 at 1:02 PM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Gil - You say "Democrats are always talking about "exit strategies" when it comes to war, never winning them."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't a defined exit strategy part of the Powell doctrine, formulated during the Bush years?

December 2, 2009 at 1:39 PM 
Blogger steve mcdonald said...

and, Barry O's opposition to the iraq surge? I'm waiting, anon-iano...


thats right, he tried to censor it last year when it turned out to be working.

December 2, 2009 at 11:15 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Trying to bring peace to Afghanistan. I say Obama is finally earning his Nobel prize

December 3, 2009 at 12:20 AM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Gil - That was a rather simplistic answer. Seem's as though the Taliban proved to be better at governing that country, than the mafia like government that we currently back. Taliban is more than just an insurgent movement. It's a mentality. A way of thinking. It's pretty hard to change a thought process at the end of a gun. BTW, you didn't answer my earlier question. Wasn't the defined exit strategy part of the Powell doctrine formulated during the Bush administration?

December 3, 2009 at 10:59 AM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Gil - More interesting information on the term "exit strategy".

The term was used technically in internal Pentagon critiques of the Vietnam War (cf. President Richard Nixon's promise of Peace With Honor), but remained obscure to the general public until the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia when the U.S. military involvement in that U.N. peacekeeping operation cost the lives of U.S. troops without a clear objective. Republican critics of President Bill Clinton derided him for having no exit strategy, although he had inherited an active military operation from his predecessor, President George H. W. Bush. The criticism was revived later against the U.S. involvement in the Yugoslav wars, including peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo and the Kosovo war against Serbia.

Then Gov. G. W. Bush on Kosovo - "‘Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is"

December 4, 2009 at 6:59 PM 

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