Tuesday, December 01, 2009

West Point Reaction

I was somehow under the impression this was supposed to be a strategy speech. There was an overt lack of specificity with respect to the military component, so I don't have sufficient information to assess whether this is more Counter-Intelligence or more Biden-esque Counter-Terrorism. Even the total force strength eluded us tonight because Obama is "confident" in an unspecified addition of further NATO strength. What convenient omissions.

As to what actually was in the speech, Obama once again displayed his lack of strategic comprehension. A key theme was an unwillingness to project commitment. "Our security is at stake", but by the way, we'll start pulling out in 18 months. He didn't even bother to hedge. And we wouldn't want to commit too much in the way of resources, because we've got domestic issues like healthcare to screw up. The economy's taken a back seat to Obama's other priorities, but apparently defeating Al Qaeda is below even that. In his obligatory Bush-blaming segment, he failed to see the link between the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts. Al Qaeda shifted its focus to Iraq, then shifted back again to Afghanistan as Iraq slipped from its grasp. This fundamental dynamic is lost on Obama.

Another failed strategic formulation was Obama's idea that there had been "no delay" and nothing held back during his extensive policy review period. So what? While Obama refused to articulate a commitment to the fight, and while the question started as whether there would be a troop surge, AQ stepped up its game. AQ was being strategic, trying to force us into losing our resolve. Go figure.

I could go on, but I have other stuff I need to do. I mostly felt the need to circle back on the previous Biden post.

(I'm still amused at his more-or-less native pronunciation of Pok-ee-stahn and Toll-ee-bahn, but his unmistakably American pronunciation of Afghanistan. Every language reserves the right to pronounce foreign names in its own way and with its own inflection, so why should American English be any different? But mix-and-match is just ridiculous.)

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