Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Commander-In-Defeat?


American soldiers fight and die in Afghanistan because they believe they’re defending our country and our way of life. It’s disturbing to read in Bob Woodward’s recently-published book “Obama’s War” that their commander-in-chief doesn’t see it the way they do. Woodward’s account leaves the impression that President Obama only wants to appear that he shares our soldiers’ beliefs, but that he really sees the war as a political problem to rid himself of before reelection time.

As a US senator and presidential candidate, Obama said over and over that President Bush’s Iraq War was a distraction and that the important was was in Afghanistan. Enough Americans believed him to put him in charge as president. His generals believed him too, so when the newly-elected Obama asked them at strategy meetings what his options were, they laid out various plans to win. Obama got exasperated because he didn’t really want to win. He wanted to get out.

As Woodward puts it:

President Obama was on edge. For two exhausting months, [Obama] had been asking military advisers to give him a range of options for the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he felt that they were steering him toward one outcome and thwarting his search for an exit plan. He would later tell his White House aides that military leaders were "really cooking this thing in the direction they wanted."

If Obama’s generals were wrong about anything, it was believing what their commander-in-chief said. It’s clear after almost two years in office that although he was great at campaigning, he has little idea about how to govern. It would be one thing if he believed a ground war in Afghanistan wasn’t the way to defeat our enemies and was looking for a different strategy. There’s enough historical precedent given England’s and the former Soviet Union’s experience in Afghanistan to support a re-thinking. If he asked for ideas about a covert, unconventional, low-intensity conflict together with a world-wide anti-jihad propaganda campaign that might be more effective at defeating our enemies, people might understand. But he’s not doing that. He just wants out.

Obama refuses even to define our enemy as Radical Islam. What does he think might be a common factor with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hezbollah? Why is he eliminating references to “Islamic Radicalism” and “jihad” from key national security documents? What’s going on? Does President Obama think he can bring his teleprompter over there and charm them out of their intentions to bring down western civilization?

Key military advisors Woodward mentions in “Obama’s Wars” are resigning, including Obama’s National Security Advisor James Jones, a retired Marine General who is quoted in an interview with Der Spiegel on Obama’s approach to the war: “Hope is not a strategy.”

That we have men and women willing to die in combat assures the survival of our way of life. They’re not suicidal as our enemies are, but they’re willing to risk their lives to defend our country against those enemies. Their ideals are among the greatest any of us possess and they deserve our highest respect. Because, after all, it’s all about ideals. It’s about their belief that America is exceptional. It’s the best country in the world and the last best hope on earth, as Abraham Lincoln described the United States of America. It’s about believing that our country is greater than we are, that what it represents is worth dying for. The men who volunteer for combat are proud of their country, and that’s why they do what they do. It’s becoming painfully apparent, however, that their commander-in-chief who orders them into battle doesn’t share their ideals. That’s bad. That’s very bad for all of us.

I wonder how our combat soldiers felt when, only after her husband won presidential primaries, they heard Michelle Obama declare: “And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” The first time? Was that a clue that the man who went on to become their commander-in-chief might have similar feelings? It would seem so given that he sat in the pew of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church listening to his anti-American rants for twenty years and launched his political career in the living room of left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers who attempted to violently overthrow the US government.

It’s consoling for families who lose loved ones in combat to believe they died defending their country. How will those fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, and children feel when they read evidence in Woodward’s book that their president is only using our soldiers for his personal political purposes?

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20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last picture is so appropriate. It seems to reflect Obama's attitude of "Screw 'em all. My way or the highway."

He's trying to be everything to everyone and failing miserably at it. He was good at running for the office but not prepared for actually doing anything when he got into office. Now the country is paying the price.

Don't like him, didn't vote for him and won't vote for him the next time either. Unfortunately there are still too many people out there who swallow everything he says hook, line and sinker. Heaven help us all should he be re-elected.

10/13/10, 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Irregardless NH said...

"Unfortunately there are still too many people out there who swallow everything he says hook, line and sinker."

Yup...just like those who believed everything the Skydecker-in-Chief-from-Yale said.

"Now...watch this drive!"

Ahhh...how soon they forget.

10/13/10, 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

You know that annoying little second grader that repeats his favorite poo-poo joke over and over and over and over and thinking it is so funny every time?

Well, just like that immature little guy, here comes Tom rehashing yet again his favorite photo-shopped Obama picture...becuase, tee hee, they made it look like he is, gasp, flipping the bird!!!

The height of humor for Tom's juvinile brain, I suppose.

And why not some more photoshopping to make it look like Obama is at a gay orgy? Worried that people are figuring out too much about the real you?

And Tom is so out of ideas for his columns that he resorts to filling space with long worn out references to "teleprompters". That was, aster all, a radical right buzzword that all good lemmings were supposed to repeat. What? All presidents used the teleprompter just as much since it was invented? Who cares.

Anyway, I would much rather have a president who considers this war a quagmire and who wants it to end than a President who claims God wants an invasion!

Here is some of a book review for "Obama's Wars" from the LA Times:

"One of the closest held secrets of President Bush's inner circle," Woodward writes, "was that the president had lost his appetite for military contingency planning. The tough-talking, saber-rattling Bush Administration had not prepared for some of the worst-case scenarios the country might face."

In fact, according to Woodward, at the last National Security Council he convened before leaving office, Bush decided to suppress a report on the Afghan situation he'd commissioned from his "war czar," Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute. That review concluded the United States had no coordinated strategy in Afghanistan, that we were neither losing nor winning the war there, that the local government was hopelessly corrupt and that the far greater strategic threat to American security was in Pakistan.

Once again, Tom, I got a great chuckle out of your ignorance. You are a shining example of our schools failing to get students to think for themselves.

10/13/10, 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster, that last picture is incredibly appropriate. In fact it sums up pefectly the radical fringe group that Tom belongs to:

A purposeful distortion of the truth.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. Repeat until the message is believed by the gullible. Unfortunately there are still many people out there who swallow all this garbage hook, line and sinker.

Sophmoric, low level of thinking.

All negativity, no plans of their own.

10/13/10, 10:12 AM  
Anonymous GBA said...

Two 'Blame Bush' references, a few comments belittling Tom's intelligence, and one inference that Tom is a closeted homo.  

Yup, looks like the standard boiler plate posts from the Tom haters.

10/13/10, 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't hate Tom. I hate lies, willfull ignorance, and lemmings.

10/13/10, 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Slate:

In the end, Woodward reveals, Obama devised his own alternative strategy and personally wrote out its terms in a six-page, single-spaced memo that he made his top civilian and military advisers read and sign on to. (Woodward reprints the memo in the back of the book.)
This, by the way, is why Obama needed to hold those 10 national-security meetings before making his final decision on an Afghan war strategy. He wasn't "dithering," as Dick Cheney and other Republicans complained. Each meeting raised new questions, and the top military officers were sent back to answer them. This strategic review, Woodward writes, marked "one of the rare examples in recent American history where a president had fully understood the contours of a national-security decision."

There are two implications here. First, presidents need to be smart; they have to ask lots of questions; they can't just let the officers roll them, like George W. Bush did. But second, because Obama fully grasped the underlying issues of the decisions on Afghanistan, this really is "Obama's war."
The tragedy is that, for all the intelligent thinking and meticulous strategizing, the war may well be unwinnable, by any definition of that term, for reasons beyond Obama's—or Petraeus' or Mullen's or any American's—control.

10/13/10, 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Greg said...

"A purposeful distortion of the truth.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. Repeat until the message is believed by the gullible. Unfortunately there are still many people out there who swallow all this garbage hook, line and sinker.

Sophmoric, low level of thinking.

All negativity, no plans of their own."

Yup, that is S.O.P. for these people. Tom is even still repeating the distorted "truth" about Obama "launching his career" at Bill Ayers!!!!

He even parrots back the same vocabulary that was drilled into his little lemming-brain!!! "Launched his career..."!

lol


His writings have GOT to be satire!

Hilarious stuff...keept it up Tom.

10/13/10, 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Obama got exasperated because he didn’t really want to win. He wanted to get out."

"It would be one thing if he believed a ground war in Afghanistan wasn’t the way to defeat our enemies and was looking for a different strategy...But he’s not doing that. He just wants out."

Tom, would it be too much to ask on what you are basing these statements of yours. Quotes from Obama saying he "doesn't want to win"? Inside information that he is not really looking for other strategies?

I know that radicals love to hide behind vague generalities and gut feelings, but surely you have something?

As the LA Times piece said, Bush was NOT planning for possible scenarios and was SUPPRESSING important reports from the military. Shouldn't we be cheering the fact that we have a President actually brainstorming for the best course of action?

In discussing Woodward's book, why didn't you include the quote: "one of the rare examples in recent American history where a president had fully understood the contours of a national-security decision."

Was it because this statement flies in the face of your groundless declarations?


The book also brought up the fact that the military wanted 40,000 troops with no strings attached, no promise that it would be the last request and no fixing of a date when Obama can begin withdrawing them. The president saw the pit opening before him. "This is not what I'm looking for," he said. "I'm not doing 10 years, I'm not doing a long-term nation-building effort. I'm not spending a trillion dollars." He wanted another, more flexible option with fewer troops and a built-in date to start withdrawals. But the military wouldn't give it to him.

Finally, Obama relented and gave the military most of what it demanded. In a strategy memorandum dated Nov. 29, 2009, which Obama dictated himself and which Woodward prints verbatim at the end of the book, the president approves a 33,000-troop surge for Afghanistan, bringing the U.S. force level there to 101,000.

What more did you want, Tom? I'll be waiting for answers, but I know your reputaion for mud-slinging and then running to hide.


But those are the facts. They don't jive with your baseless assertion that Obama is doing anything for personal, political purposes.

But if reality doesn't fit your partisan agenda than the heck with it, huh?

10/13/10, 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

The last post got sent before I could put my name -

Rick

10/13/10, 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Show Low Yaqui said...

Tom, thank you for the great piece and discussion based on recent writings.

Some people may take issue and respectfully disagree, but unfortunately others are unable to form a cogent rebuttal without resorting to vituperative, personal attack.

For those of you interested in expanding personal knowledge and gathering further information, I highly recommend bringing up the A.I.M.org website, and reading two recent pieces, "Marxist Roots of Obama's Rage" parts 1 and 2. as a start. Shalom.

10/13/10, 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooooh, Obama has secret "rage"!

What'll these desperate folks think of next?

lol

10/14/10, 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, they have to hide him away when the "rage" strikes because he then turns into the Incredible Hulk.

Except he turns red instead of green because he is a Commie Hulk!

It's true. I read it on the internet.

10/14/10, 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Ralph said...

Tom, it's no wonder you take a week off now and then from your drivel and write about photography, rocks, etc....you must need the occasional break from getting yourself a new A-hole torn week after week!

It's almost to the point where I don't want to pile on because you are TOO easy, there is no challange to tearing apart your nonsense.

I'm almost feeling sorry for you. I must be getting soft.

10/14/10, 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real problem is that we were never built to be world policeman. Afghanistan occurred because of 9/11; 9/11 occurred because we were incapable of resolving the mid-east crisis. The nations in that region were our client-states for decades but they constantly ignored our requests and recommendations.

The world is descending into chaos and every day brings us closer to the 'big bang' unless something of great historical moment happens: like a UN with teeth.

Unfortunately that is unlikely to happen because those same former client states will never agree to a globally strong and effective UN.

Gordo

10/14/10, 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom is still too scared to come out of hiding and answer some simple questions.

Perhaps his column should have been entitled:

Columnist-In-Defeat

10/18/10, 10:08 AM  
Anonymous GBA said...

An anonymous Tom Hater calling for Tom to come out of hiding.

FAIL

10/18/10, 10:33 AM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Okay, here I am. Been hiding up here in Lovell because you leftist harpies are so shrewd and intelligent you're scaring me. I've also been taking pictures which I'll post soon.

Obama had to agree with a troop increase because he had boxed himself in with his own campaign rhetoric. He talked endlessly how important the Afghan War was, and how stupid Bush was to invade Iraq and taking his eye off the ball. Obama couldn't just pull troops out like he wanted to after that, so he had to compromise with McChrystal who wanted 40-80,000 and send in 30,000. It would take over a year to actually deploy them, but Obama said he'll withdraw them by July, 2011 shortly after they were all in place. Not what anyone would call a strategic move - unless politics were the only consideration.

Admittedly, Bush didn't think through his endgame there. He had to go after Bin Laden in Afghanistan after September 11th, but didn't have a plan about what to do when Bin Laden and al Qaeda escaped into Pakistan.

But what is Obama doing there? What is his endgame? Who is the enemy? He can't answer those questions either, but neither can he admit that his campaign rhetoric was nothing but that.

That he's willing to use 100,000 of our best, most idealistic young men as pawns in his political maneuverings only reveals his all-consuming narcissism. America's enemies have figured out that Obama is a spineless leader. American voters are figuring it out too.

Can't wait 'til November 2nd.

10/18/10, 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see if I have this straight...

Most democrats and almost all of Obama's liberal base wants the US out of afghanistan. They elected him once and if he keeps them happy they will vote for him again.

And you are saying that Obama is turning these voters away for "personal political reasons"??

Sounds to me like he is doing what he believes is best for the country, personal goals be damned.

You say Obama couldn't just pull out troops from Afghanistan (he couldn't?), but even were that true did he have to escalate?

You ask "What is Obama doing there"?

Well, if you really are having trouble finding out for yourself, here are Obama's own words:

"Don't allow terrorists to operate from this region. Don't allow them to create big training camps and to plan attacks on the U.S. homeland with impunity."

There, now you know. You ask who the enemy is. Try to follow, it's not too complicated....it is the terrorists!

The endgame, you ask? Well, as Obama said: "...train the Afghans so that they have a functioning government, that they have their own security forces, and then slowly we can begin to pull our troops out"

Glad I could help you out, I can see why you were so confused being ignorant about those facts.


Oh, and Tom, you "forgot" to answer the questions about your sources. Where did you hear that Obama is not looking for alternate strategies?


Keep researching for yourself Tom, you may be surprised what the truth really is.

10/18/10, 12:27 PM  
Anonymous ABG said...

Tom doesn't care what the truth is, he hides from the truth. Tom cares about liberal-bashing.

Tom says "America's enemies" dscovered that Obama is spineless. Who exactly made this discovery? Are YOU the American enemy you refer to? Afterall, anybody making up lies and continuously slandering their country would appear to fit that category.

10/19/10, 9:00 AM  

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