Probably the most important column that you'd read today is from Charles Krauthammer about President Obama's reasons for setting a hard withdrawal date for Afghanistan.
...How did Obama come to this decision? "Our Afghan policy was focused as much as anything on domestic politics," an Obama adviser told the New York Times' Peter Baker. "He would not risk losing the moderate to centrist Democrats in the middle of health insurance reform and he viewed that legislation as the make-or-break legislation for his administration."
If this is true, then Obama's military leadership can only be called scandalous...
And over at Commentary, Peter Wehner, adds more.
...Here is a paragraph from a June 23 Washington Post article on the controversy then surrounding General Stanley McChrystal:
McChrystal’s apparent disdain for his civilian colleagues, and the facts on the ground in Afghanistan, have exposed the enduring fault lines in the agreement Obama forged last fall among policymakers and military commanders. In exchange for approving McChrystal’s request for more troops and treasure, Obama imposed, and the military accepted, two deadlines sought by his political aides. In December, one year after the strategy was announced, the situation would be reviewed and necessary adjustments made. In July 2011, the troops would begin to come home. [emphasis added]
These are damning admissions — war policies not only being influenced by partisan considerations but in important respects being driven by them.
In embracing a new counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama made the right decision. At the same time, he made a political accommodation on the withdrawal date, which we now know is undermining our efforts...
I believe that most reasonable people would agree that socialized medicine should not be the driving factor in military decisions.
To be fair, this is the text of President Obama's speech on the end of combat operations in Iraq, which we should note, turned into a speech about the American economy:
...Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who–under the command of General David Petraeus –are fighting to break the Taliban’s momentum. As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. But, as was the case in Iraq, we cannot do for Afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. That’s why we are training Afghan Security Forces and supporting a political resolution to Afghanistan’s problems. And, next July, we will begin a transition to Afghan responsibility. The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for Afghanistan will endure. But make no mistake: this transition will begin – because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s.
Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President...
Reading between the lines, there is some wiggle room there on withdrawing, but not much.
So is the Presidential military leadership really 'scandalous'? Is his Afghanistan policy based upon deal making to end the war and be able to fund government expansion?
Looks like Jimbo, as usual, was ahead of the crowd of columnists on this one.