Jun 23 2010

Obama Finally Has To Prove His Leadership

Published by at 7:23 am under All General Discussions

Updates Below!

Major Update: It seems McChrystal may have succeeded in ensuring his successor is capable, and will now be free to throw is public support for more action from Team Obama. – end update

Today the mythical leader created by the liberal news media meets the tough-as-nails military leader who hunts down the most dangerous people in the world. Also today the nation will learn (again) if running a campaign and being a community organizer is anywhere near sufficient experience to deal with America’s top concerns as President. Finally, President Obama is going to have to demonstrate leadership, or else.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal can save his job as U.S. commander in Afghanistan depending on how his Wednesday morning meeting goes with President Obama, top administration officials tell POLITICO.

Either way, the officials said, there will be a shakeup in the command because of the indiscipline among McChrystal’s staff captured by Rolling Stone.

Apparently McChrystal is a bit of a loose cannon and does not suffer fools well (many of us cannot). But he is not stupid or reckless, he is  a strategist. He knew what would happen when the Rolling Stone muck hit the fan. His efforts to win in Afghanistan have been undermined by the politicians involved and Obama’s stupid retreat deadline. McChrsytal sees that the military alone cannot win Afghanistan as long as the political side is inept and feckless. Counter insurgency relies on a successful economic and political arm after the military clears and area of terrorist thugs. It ain’t happening.

I think McChrystal has become so disillusioned with political leaders  – ones he once supported so blindly – he is staging the mother of all protest exits. People think he is pushing President Obama to double his efforts. I doubt it, but if he is tenacious as his reputation indicates I guess it is possible.

But what I really think is happening is McChrystal is testing Obama and making his decision on how to end this media storm he ignited. If this blows up in President Obama’s face, that will cripple him on all fronts. There will be no subject area left where Obama has not failed. And he is up against a true leader this morning. But more importantly, Obama will have to push to win or quit. If he keeps the status quo the howls from left, right and center will explode. No one wants people dying in a half assed cause.

I predict Obama fails the test and McChrystal resigns and begins unloading his frustrations publicly. I have no clue what a community organizer does in a situation like this. Neither does the community organizer.

Update: John McCain, not surprisingly, understands what leadership is required:

“If the president fires McChrystal, we need a new ambassador and we need an entire new team over there. But most importantly, we need the president to say what Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates have both said but what the president refuses to say: Our withdrawal in the middle of 2011 will be conditions based. It’s got to be conditions based and he’s got to say it.”

Obama should pay attention, but I am sure he is trying to figure out how to community organize a success here.

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Obama Finally Has To Prove His Leadership”

  1. SallyVee says:

    Relief. Just watched President Obama (notice, no snark in reference).

    Whether intentional or unintentional, Gen. Stanley McChrystal rubbed the scab off a festering wound and our Commander-in-Chief was forced to utter some very welcome words moments ago.

    Matter of fact, the statement I heard coming out of the mouth of Barack Obama was excellent and spot on. The best news is his appointment of Gen. Petraeus, who I trust every bit as much as I distrust Obama. This is change with a genuine purpose, and hope for a resounding victory.

    And politically speaking, we must be honest, it is Obama’s chance for a measure of redemption. One which I support 100%.

  2. tarpon says:

    Yes, yes, he made a great rendition from TOTUS …

    So now our dear reader can get back to 24/7 on the oil spill and plugging the Ho.

    I still want to see how Afghanistan works out.

  3. WWS says:

    Tom Friedman has a column up on the Afghan situation. I don’t usually agree with him on much of anything, but he has a couple of good points in this one:


    of course, his first question is idiotic – why are we training the afghans to fight? The answer to that is that to the Afghans, *any* Afghan, including our allies, “fighting” means going in to the neighboring tribes village, raping the women, killing the men you can find, and stealing as much as you can carry. Those kind of allies don’ t do us any good. Basically it takes a heck of a lot of work to try and elevate them up to some semblance of civilisation.

    But his second and third questions are very good, and I cannot answer them. And he suggests that as long as we do not have an answer for them, our only choices are lose early, lose late, lose small, or lose big.

    “Ownership is everything in business, war and diplomacy. People will fight with sticks and stones and no training at all for a government they feel ownership of. When they — Israelis, Palestinians, Afghans, Iraqis — assume ownership over a policy choice, everything is possible, particularly the most important thing of all: that what gets built becomes self-sustaining without us. But when we want it more than they do, nothing is self-sustaining, and they milk us for all we’re worth. I simply don’t see an Afghan “awakening” in areas under Taliban control. And without that, at scale, nothing we build will be self-sustaining. “

  4. Terrye says:

    McChrystal must have known what could happen when he and his staff started talking to a left wing mag like Rolling Stone. Notice how all of a sudden Patraeus is a good guy to Obama…a couple of years ago he was a liar. It is amazing how different the view is from the Oval Office, vs the campaign trail.

  5. kathie says:


    Victor Davis Hanson:
    It is one of ironies of our present warped climate that Petraeus will face far less criticism from the media and politicians than during 2007–8 (there will be no more “General Betray Us” ads or “suspension of disbelief” ridicule), because his success this time will reflect well on Obama rather than George Bush. It is a further irony that Obama is surging with Petraeus despite not long ago declaring that such a strategy and such a commander were failures in Iraq. And it is an even further irony that he is now rightly calling for “common purpose” when — again not long ago, at a critical juncture in Iraq — Obama himself, for partisan purposes on the campaign trail, had no interest in the common purpose of military success in Iraq.

    Still I’m happy that General Petraeus is leading this effort, it is good for America, and good for Americans fighting is was for us. We are blessed that the General said yes.