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December 01, 2009

Obama Surges Faster Than President Bush
Posted by Adam Blickstein

The media has largely accepted the conservative frame that Obama has dithered on Afghanistan and delayed his decision to the point where our efforts there have been degraded. While this is wrong on so many levels, there's an important process comparison between Afghanistan and the Iraq surge decision that is rarely made. Buried in today's NY Times is this nugget:

Until recently, discussions focused on a deployment that would take a year, but Mr. Obama concluded that the situation required “more, sooner,” as one official said, explaining the some of the central conclusions Mr. Obama reached at the end of a nearly three-month review of American war strategy.

Accepting that this has been a little less than a three month process, from the moment Gen. McChrystal offered his troop recommendation to Obama's speech tonight, it's clear that Obama's decision on Afghanistan took either the same or less time to make than President Bush's decision on the Iraq surge. A quick timeline of the surge makes this eminently clear:

  • In October 2006 President Bush, ordered national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to undertake a secret review of the Iraq war strategy.
  • The first government-wide meeting to explore possible troop increases was held 3 days after the 2006 midterm elections.
  • In December 2006, Retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Keane briefs President Bush on Iraq strategy proposed by American Enterprise Institute.
  • Despite opposition from Iraq Commander Gen. Casey, and the fact the Joint Chiefs of Staff never recommended a “surge,” the White House announces the new strategy January 11 2007.

So not only did it take Bush slightly longer to decide on the surge in Iraq, but the decision was made against the recommendations of the sitting military leadership and driven largely by conservative political entities from outside think tanks. And it was done straddling an election, with both the first government meeting and strategy announcement done after American voters went to the polls.

Compared to President Obama's swifter, more inclusive strategy review that was done in a comprehensive manner with input from all factions--the military as well as diplomatic, civilian, and economic corps--President Bush seems to be the one who was the Ditherer-in-Chief basing decisions on political imperatives, not military ones. While the Iraq surge worked to give the government there more political space, the military component was really secondary to the other factors that contributed to its success.

And while conservatives and the media remain obsessed with troop numbers and the decision's time-frame, they quickly forget a recent history that demonstrates that President Obama embarked on a war strategy review process in a more methodical and rapid manner than his predecessor.


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“The Surge”

December 6, 2009 by

“The Surge”

The war in Afghanistan is also a continuation and expansion of the corporate welfare policy of the Bush administration, which interestingly is not only wholly accepted by President Obama, but is raised to a higher level (surge). The more private contractors sent to Afghanistan, the better for the bottom line (surge) (profit). The more the merrier. Bush or Obama, as always, the interest of the corporate elite is paramount.

The decrease in violence in Iraq was not a result of President Bush’s strategy of sending 30,000 more troops to Iraq (surge), that President Obama is so desperately trying to duplicate, but it was mainly a result of the U.S. government’s payment of about $10 a day to about 70,000 Sunni insurgents.

During his speech to the nation explaining his reasons for the Afghanistan “surge”, the president said:

“So, no, I do not make this decision lightly. I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak. … In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror. And this danger will only grow if the region slides backwards, and al Qaeda can operate with impunity. We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region.”

I thought I was listening to President Bush. Word for word the same message, but, a different messenger, one who is more articulate. He also used Bush’s tactic of scaring the American public, the danger to America “is no idle danger, no hypothetical threat”. The only thing missing from his speech was that, he didn’t use the threat level colors. It is too early in his presidency; we might still see him use the threat levels in the future.

The president’s troop” surge” in the Afghanistan war has made his Conservative Republican friends temporarily happy, but members of his own political party and the American citizens at large are not supportive of his so-called “surge”. While America is facing a massive unemployment, millions of citizens without health insurance, the country burdened with cumbersome and chocking growing debt, to say the least, the president’s choice of the Afghanistan “surge” at this particular moment, seems to be unwise.

Professor Mekonen Haddis.

What Obama should have said: All the surge is accomplishing is putting more troops into harm's way, and Iraq is not one iota closer to being politically stable from it. In essence the surge is like trying to keep a ship from sinking by putting more people on it....

Thank you for your sharing.! seslichat seslisohbet

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