by William Teach | June 17, 2017 6:42 am
Yesterday we discussed the NY Times having a tizzy over President Trump giving Secretary of Defense James Mattis the power to set troop levels, something that shouldn’t be controversial in the least, as that is the way it used to be done. It’s why Presidents have people around them with the requisite knowledge and capabilities for the job. Today, the Washington Post Editorial Board finally finds an approving word for Mr. Trump, and savages past president Barack Obama at the same time
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S resolution to delegate decisions on troop levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon is a worthy corrective to the approach of President Barack Obama, who micromanaged U.S. military forces in a way that badly undercut their ability to achieve their goals. By politicizing force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan and setting timetables for withdrawal unlinked to conditions on the ground, Mr. Obama helped to ensure failure on his watch in both countries. The Islamic State gained control over much of Iraq, forcing the redeployment of U.S. troops, while a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan now demands a similar reversal of previous withdrawals.
You could virtually put that entire paragraph in bold for its notations of failure by Mr. Obama, and it’s something incredible to see in the Washington Post, most especially by the Editorial Board. It would have been nice to see this while Mr. Obama was still in office, mind you.
A U.S. surge like that ordered by Mr. Obama in 2009, which sent tens of thousands of additional American troops to Afghanistan, is not in the cards. Instead, perhaps 3,000 to 5,000 additional U.S. personnel, supplemented by troops from NATO nations, will join the some 8,400 Americans and 5,000 Europeans currently in the country. The main aim will be to bolster Afghan forces so they can stop the Taliban’s momentum, including by increasing the size of elite Special Operations forces and backing them with air power — something the Obama administration senselessly restricted.
Obama’s policy was more on politics, on trying to look strong, than on ground realities. He made lots of promises and statements during the 2008 campaign, particularly about Afghanistan being the “right war” and Iraq being the “wrong one”, and managed to mess up both.
The editorial goes on to note that the White House will need to become involved at some point, once the plan is in place, as the overall mission is something Mr. Trump is responsible for, ending with
Mr. Obama did his best to distance himself from the Afghan war, with the result that key political objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan remained out of reach, while domestic support for the mission steadily declined. That’s another mistake that Mr. Trump has the opportunity to correct.
During the entire time Mr. Obama was in office, I cannot remember the WPEB ever so viciously attacking Mr. Obama. Perhaps they are finally realizing just how bad his presidency actually was, including his foreign policy.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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