Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 6 Share on Facebook 5 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 17 (28 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   11 comments

    OpEdNews Op Eds

Obama Misses the Afghan Exit Ramp

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 5   Must Read 4   Valuable 4  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 6/25/10

Become a Fan
  (149 fans)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

- Advertisement -

But where would the additional troops come from, and what would they be able to do that is not already being done?

For those old enough to remember a similar stage in the "counterinsurgency" operation in Vietnam, the ramrod image of Petraeus evokes shivers. He resembles much too closely the American commander in Vietnam, the late Gen. William Westmoreland, an equally handsome gent decked out with all manner of ribbons and medals with which to dazzle Congress in a way that President Lyndon Johnson could not.

A lawsuit after the Vietnam War proved that Westmoreland deliberately misled Congress by insisting that there were only half as many Vietnamese Communists under arms as his intelligence analysts knew there were.His hallmark was an insatiable need for more and more troops. Westmoreland's periodic appeals for further escalation built U.S. forces up to 536,000--as he ploddingly pursued the light at the end of the tunnel.

Finally, in March 1968, President Johnson convened a group of more sober and honest advisers, who told him Vietnam was a fool's errand. Johnson finally said "no" to Westmoreland's request for a 206,000-troop escalation, but it was too late. Johnson wound up forfeiting the presidency as well as the war, opening the door to Richard Nixon and all that followed.

In his multiplemea culpas(that came far too late), Johnson's Defense Secretary Robert McNamara bemoaned the fact that as many as three million Vietnamese were killed, as well as over 58,000 American troops. But during his tenure as secretary of defense, McNamara acted as though he were tone deaf.And his current successor, Robert Gates, seems equally hard of hearing, though he is old enough to remember the hit song of the time, "When will they ever learn?"

Rock and Hard Place

Obama's main dilemma will be how to say "no" when, as seems inevitable, Westmoreland -- sorry, Petraeus -- makes requests for more "surges" of troops into Afghanistan.

The dynamic of the occupation and feckless forays such as those against Marja suggest the following scenario: Late this year or early next, Petraeus is likely to warn Obama that, if the general does not get the additional forces he needs, he will go the way of McChrystal and invite removal.Petraeus would slide in a subtle but clear intimation that he might challenge Obama for president in 2012.

- Advertisement -

In that case, Secretary of State Clinton is likely to insist on giving Petraeus whatever he says he needs.Gates would bow to the prevailing winds, and Obama's political advisers would probably advocate sending more troops from wherever they can be scrounged up.

Casualties would rise exponentially; there would never be enough troops; most of those NATO allies that have not already withdrawn their troops would do so. The remaining "coalition forces" would not "prevail" (whatever that means).

Such escalation would not be likely to help, and by the end of 2011, the Teflon, ribbon-bedecked Petraeus might well quit anyway and join McChrystal in blaming the carnage on the "clowns" around President Obama.W might well end up with either a President Petraeus or another President Clinton in the person of Obama's hawkish Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is the only, the only official who is praised by McChrystal's wild-boy crew, because she favored giving the general whatever troops he wanted. A Chrystal aide is quoted as saying, "She said, "If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.'"For Petraeus, it is a safe bet she would say the same thing.

Is it possible that Obama can be blissfully unaware of the dangerous political kill zone into which he has maneuvered his presidency (not to mention the kinetic kill zone into which he has sent U.S. troops)?

- Advertisement -

The tragedy is that this is totally unnecessary. If President Obama could get beyond ill-conceived short-term political considerations, he already has available some well-reasoned guidance as to how to extricate the United States from the Afghanistan morass.

He got solid advice last fall from retired Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, his ambassador in Kabul, who knows more about Afghanistan than Petraeus, McChrystal, Gates, Clinton, and special envoy Richard Holbrooke do, put together.

Eikenberry served three years in Afghanistan over the course of two separate tours of duty.During 2002-2003 he was responsible for rebuilding Afghan security forces.He then served 18 months (2005-2007) as commander of all U.S. forces stationed in the country.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What's Hayden Hidin'?

Asylum for Julian Assange -- Former Awardee for Integrity

Petraeus Cons Obama on Afghan War

Obama Stands Up to Israel, Tamps Down Iran War Threats

Mullen Wary of Israeli Attack on Iran

Note to Nancy Pelosi: Colin Powell Got Snookered at CIA, too

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
10 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

It looks as though Obama drove right by the last s... by Marika on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 7:25:04 AM
The lack of discipline here is not with the milita... by johne37179 on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 8:07:07 AM
Well said, Ray. My first thought when I saw the Ro... by thomas unger on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 9:31:33 AM
I can't say if President Obama is aware of that po... by Donald on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 9:54:44 AM
....well Donald that may well be. I believe you an... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:21:56 PM
And so yet another imperial war continues, killing... by mhenriday on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 10:33:29 AM
[[IMG81]] It is well known that the US already ... by Lance Ciepiela on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:45:31 AM
Somehow I can't find any info on it.... by Progessive 1 on Saturday, Jun 26, 2010 at 3:26:48 AM
Afghanistan-India or Afghanistan-Turkey?There is a... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010 at 1:04:16 AM
There I was, on the bus, headed back to Walter Ree... by Christopher Rushlau on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 3:47:29 PM
while generals and politicians play political tidd... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jun 25, 2010 at 10:47:24 PM