Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why 30,000 Troops?

I, like so many others, have seen the countless world war 2 films in which the narcissistic Adolf Hitler stares at a map surrounded by his top generals. They make suggestions of tactics and troop movements to the Fuhrer. Once they are done with their presentation, Hitler counters their advice with that of his own, around things like invading Russia before the UK has been defeated, or bombing London, or his decisions around ignoring the invasion of Normandy. And since Hilter is the Fuhrer, it doesn’t matter what their advice is. Yesterday, our own commander-in-chief issued his own orders of battle. He suggested an increase of 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan, with a stated departure date of 2011. The reason I bring up the Hitler story is this, why only 30,000 troops? Where did this number come from? Obama’s own appointed general in the region said he needed 40,000 troops, so how is it that Obama has come up with a winning strategy with 75% of the troop strength requested. Did Obama and his community activists sit around a map and play war games on the computer. Was the military even involved in the decision. More than anything, I want to know how he made his decision on the actual troop level. I want him to say why he disagrees with his commander in the field on military strategy. I want to know why Obama thinks he has found the ability for civilian success where so many others have failed before him.

12 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

You may be right? However I did see an interview with General Petraeus this AM where he praised the process and the result. I don't like being over there but at least there seems to be an exit strategy.. of course Obama like Bush doesn't really have a way to pay for three troop escalation.

jrchaard said...

I want to be over there as little as possible. Sending troops for politics sake seems to be what is happening as opposed to strategic sake. Obama can never say he is giving his commanders what they asked for.

Kansas Bob said...

Petraeus seems to disagree with you on that last point.

jrchaard said...

But petraeus isn't the commander. The actual commander asked for 40k. I only question why there is a discrepancy between the two numbers. Unlike other endeavors, I do hope this one succeeds for obama

Kansas Bob said...

Not sure about this but doesn't McChrystal work for Petraeus?

jrchaard said...

Petraeus was right in Iraq, so I hope he is right here.

thejotus said...

What Petraeus or McCrystal say in response to Obama's decision is irrelavent. What high ranking military official disagrees with his CIC without any consequences???

Furthermore, McCrystal asked for 60,0000 troops with 40,000 being the squeak by measure. He received neither.

You either give them what they need to do the job right or none at all.

Kansas Bob said...

Agree with this..

"You either give them what they need to do the job right or none at all."

..as long as there is a clear definition of what "the job" is. But defining the job is not a job for generals just as defining business requirements is not a job for a programmer.

jrchaard said...

What if you are a programmer with business experience

Kansas Bob said...

You mean a president like Ike? Maybe like Ike you would listen to generals like Patton and have a peaceful presidency :)

thejotus said...

With all due respect KB, but I don't think that is a very good analogy.

Back in May, General McCrystal was asked by Obama for his assessment on what it would take for him to finish the job in Afghanistan. He spent three months putting together a plan. I would say Obama delegated the job of "defining the job" to his General.

Then Obama spent another three months dragging his feet.

In the end, he conveniently ignored the very commander he HANDPICKED to give him this assessment; by giving him half of what was requested in a war Obama himself said many times was a "central front" in a "war of necessity".

There was a "job" to do and McCrystal told him exactly what it would take to do it. And Obama, just like his entire life, voted present.

Kansas Bob said...

If the prez delegated the job of determining our Afghan policy to McCrystal then IMO he made a big mistake and abdicated his responsibility.