F-35 makes first night flight
Haditha Trial is Over

Obama's political timetable for Afghan withdrawal

President Obama's decision to deploy troops to Afghanistan and announce their withdrawal during the same speech was one of the sorriest examples of politics trumping policy in my memory. Telling your enemy "Oh yeah, we are coming to get you" and then adding " But we have to come home in a year and a half because my boss is running for reelection" makes zero strategic sense and shows a tremendously callous attitude toward the lives of the men and women who went to war. Good people died so Obama could pretend to fulfill his mouthy campaign promises to go and win the "good war".

Any doubts about this cynical political hackery are dispelled in a new book that shows how O disregarded the advice of his military leadership and followed that of his collection of Chicago tools.

Obama began the discussion by explaining that he wanted the 23,000 forces out of Afghanistan by July 2012, five months sooner than Petraeus had recommended. Mullen thought a drawdown by July would sacrifice virtually the entire fighting season. Both Gates and Clinton also expressed reservations. When Obama looked to Gates in an attempt to achieve consensus, the defense secretary demurred that there was a big difference between July and an “end of summer” drawdown.
Can anyone think of a reason why it would be so important that the troops were out during the Summer of 2012 as opposed to the end of the year? I can, and it is not one that reflects well on the honor of the President. The only thing that would be substantially affected is his job security and hois chance to campaign as the "War Ender". His base would be outraged if he failed to "end" the war, and so he decided that their support was more important that the lives he would blithely throw away.  Petraeus, Mullen, Gates and Clinton- his entire unbiased professional strategic advisorship- told him that he was trashing the gains that the blood of our troops bought. But who was he listening to?
“Biden wins, Petraeus loses” was the headline the following morning as news of the president’s decision began to leak.
Noted military genius Joe Biden, and what did the professionals think?
(Jack) Keane, the retired general, denounced the decision and told Petraeus in another e-mail that it appeared to undermine his counterinsurgency campaign just as it was finally gaining momentum. “My god, Dave, they just pushed your recommendations aside and changed the war fundamentally. What a mess,” Keane wrote. Petraeus did not respond.
Petraeus kept his mouth shut because he is another professional and even though US soldiers were just used as pawns in the reelection campaign of a man unworthy of commanding them, he said nothing. He understood that elections have consequences and we elected the shallow narcissist who sits in the big chair, so we gotta live with that. And the troops gotta die with it. Gen. Petraeus said it perfectly when he noted that he wouldn't resign over this. He said the troops can't quit, so why should he?
By far the most dramatic moment, and a lesson for students of civil-military relations, came at the end of the hearing when Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat, asked Petraeus whether he supported the president’s drawdown plan and what would have to happen before he would ever consider resigning his command. “I obviously support the ultimate decision of the commander in chief,” Petraeus said. “That is, we take an oath to obey the orders of the president of the United States and indeed do that.”

“And if you couldn’t do that — if you couldn’t do that consistent with that oath — you would resign?” asked Levin.

“Well, I’m not a quitter, chairman,” Petraeus said. “I’ve actually had people e-mail me and say that I should quit, and actually this is something I’ve thought a bit about.”

“I’m sure you have,” Levin said.

“And I don’t think it is the place for a commander to actually consider that step unless you are in a very, very dire situation,” said Petraeus. “ . . . I actually feel quite strongly about this. Our troopers don’t get to quit, and I don’t think commanders should contemplate that, again, as any kind of idle action. That would be an extraordinary action, in my view. And at the end of the day, this is not about me, it’s not about an individual commander, it’s not about a reputation. This is about our country. And the best step for our country, with the commander in chief having made a decision, is to execute that decision to the very best of our ability.”
Amen Sir. Would that you were serving the best interests of our great country rather than the political ambitions of a small man. Petraeus did the right thing and that is unsurprising. The one institution America can always count on is our military. But when it comes time to vote for President of the United States and decide who will serve as Commander in Chief, the shameful actions of the current placeholder should lead to his being out out to pasture. The troops can't quit, but we can sure fire their civilian leader. We damn sure should.