Ready for a prime example of Barack Obama’s incredible narcissism and utter military ineptitude? Read Bob Woodward’s account of a briefing in Afghanistan conducted by deployed Marines for Obama’s National Security Advisor, General Jim Jones:
Jones was carrying out directions from President Obama, who said recently, “My strong view is that we are not going to succeed simply by piling on more and more troops.”
During the briefing, (Brig. Gen. Lawrence) Nicholson had told Jones that he was “a little light,” more than hinting that he could use more forces, probably thousands more. “We don’t have enough force to go everywhere,” Nicholson said.
But Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. “At a table much like this,” Jones said, referring to the polished wood table in the White House Situation Room, “the president’s principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan.” The principals — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gates; Mullen; and the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair — made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson’s Marines.
Soon after that, Jones said, the principals told the president, “oops,” we need an additional 4,000 to help train the Afghan army.
“They then said, ‘If you do all that, we think we can turn this around,’ ” Jones said, reminding the Marines here that the president had quickly approved and publicly announced the additional 4,000.
Now suppose you’re the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel?
Jones let the question hang in the air-conditioned, fluorescent-lighted room. Nicholson and the colonels said nothing.
Well, Jones went on, after all those additional troops, 17,000 plus 4,000 more, if there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have “a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment.” Everyone in the room caught the phonetic reference to WTF — which in the military and elsewhere means “What the [expletive]?”
That’s right, campers. It’s all about Obama: his feelings, his reputation, his political future, his comfort. Don’t pester him with requests for reinforcements. Sasha and Malia have to make do with the allowance Daddy gives them; you can do the same with what he’s already given you. Run along now, and accomplish your mission without any politically uncomfortable casualties, OK? The Redistributor-in-Chief has to get back to socializing the health care system.
Jules Crittenden’s bluntly-worded assessment follows, after the jump.
Jones knew when he took the job it would involve smiling through a lot of shit sandwiches. Shit sandwiches like telling other Marines, going into combat, “Sorry boys, you don’t get what you need. Not because we can’t give it to you. But because President Nancypants won’t give it to you. Doesn’t like the way war looks on him and he’ll go all Whiskey Tango Foxtrot if you try to foist it on him. So suck it up.” But do you think Woodward, who also must have known the op was coming, in retrospect feels like maybe he shouldn’t have buried his lede? His article seems to want to say the president and the national security advisor are full of it, and certainly indicates that the warfighters think so. But Woodward’s article never quite gets there. It wanders around the Afghan countryside a bit instead, and goes out the way it came in. With high-level Beltway platitudes from Jones.
The notion, the misconception, that anything happens without a significant military component … possibly significantly more than President Obama would currently care to commit … is as ridiculous as it was in Iraq when the pols and the reporters kept trying to get the generals to say all that war needed was a political solution. As if political or economic solutions simply require the right degree of earnestness and an attitude adjustment.
Too bad. It’s something American troops have dealt with before and will most earnestly endeavor to deal with now. Maybe they can pull it off. The United States military, after all, has proven remarkably resourceful, resilient and adaptive not just in these wars but in all the wars it has fought. It would be helpful this time, going into this difficult task, if the Commander in Chief’s attitude toward the expertise of the men who will to the heavy lifting was something other than “What the fuck?”
More commentary from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
But before we can build a modern Afghanistan, we have to ensure security throughout the country. That may take more than the 21,000 extra troops we sent. At the very least, a wise CinC would not rule out that possibility, especially one that promised a more energetic fight against the radical Islamists that live in the Af-Pak region. It will take a long time to succeed in Afghanistan on a military and economic basis, and 21,000 was not a magic number for success. It was just a good start in refocusing our effort.
Besides, telling the new troops that no one has their back on the eve of a major offensive is just plain stupid in terms of morale. More than a few Marines must have a few Whiskey Tango Foxtrots of their own at the moment.
So, how’s that Hopenchange working out for ya?