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  • Morning Bell: Obama Dithers While Credibility Burns

    Last month, The Washington Post reported that President Barack Obama had asked senior officials for a province-by-province analysis of Afghanistan “to help determine which regions are being managed effectively by local leaders and which require international help.” He supposedly wanted “the clearest possible understanding of what the challenges are to our forces and what is required to meet the challenge.”

    But now two weeks later the Associated Press reports that President Obama has rejected all of the options presented by his national security team and is now asking for “revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government.” The White House continues to assert that Obama just needs more time to properly calibrate how to communicate to the Afghan government that it “must improve in a reasonable period of time.” But Obama has been President for ten months now, and his rhetoric during the campaign would tend to suggest that he has been aware for sometime of our struggles in Afghanistan. The truth is the Pentagon has been scrutinizing the failures of our AfPak strategy for over two years and the new administration has benefited from all the work done before it took the White House. The argument that we need more study, or that half measures will do, is wearing pretty thin. All this news makes it look like the president is shopping for a rationale to justify a commitment that is “politically” acceptable in Washington.

    In fact, the ongoing public debate about Afghanistan has already cost the U.S. credibility with its NATO allies and is confusing our regional partners who are starting to hedge their bets and plan for a decreased U.S. commitment to the region. As well-known Pakistan expert Ahmed Rashid commented on October 27th in an article in the National Interest, “Every sign of the United States or NATO dithering over strategy only convinces the Pakistani military about keeping its Taliban option open.”

    Yes, the recent flawed Afghan election was a setback to international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, but as Heritage senior research fellow Lisa Curtis notes: “Part of the reason Karzai’s reputation has suffered is the deteriorating security situation — so it stands to reason that providing additional U.S. troops to reverse Taliban momentum, as Gen. Stanley McChrystal has requested, would also increase the credibility of the Afghan regime. While the Obama administration is right to demand cleaner rule from Karzai, it also must be realistic about the security situation and acknowledge that stemming Taliban advances is vital to U.S. national security interests.”

    The Obama administration used to believe that defeating the Taliban was a vital national security interest. It was just this past August when President Obama said: “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is a — this is fundamental to the defense of our people.”

    We need a decision from President Obama, and pretty compelling rationale to support it, soon. Obama’s Afghan strategy should provide U.S. military commanders on the ground with the resources they need to fight a successful counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban. Depriving our commanders of the resources they require is a recipe for failure.

    Quick Hits:

    • According to Pew, two-thirds of the public is dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. Fully nine-in-ten say that national economic conditions are only fair or poor, and a plurality continues to oppose the health care reform proposals in Congress.
    • After bailing out Chrysler with $12.5 billion in taxpayer money on the promise that Fiat would build electric cars here in America, Fiat has now announced that they are disbanding the project.
    • The Roman Catholic bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, Thomas Tobin accused Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) of “false advertising” for describing himself as a Catholic and saying he should not receive Holy Communion because he supports using taxpayer money for abortions.
    • According to a complaint filed last Friday, a California union is accusing the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of threatening workers with deportation and tampering with secret ballots to narrowly win a pivotal election last summer in Fresno, California.
    • According to Rasmussen Reports, most adults (53%) say being able to buy whatever kind of TV they want is more important than conserving energy.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    56 Responses to Morning Bell: Obama Dithers While Credibility Burns

    1. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      President Obama is in a quandary. No matter what he does, he will loose face. If he sends in more troops, he will loose face with his supporters who will remind him that he stated he would end this war. If he does not send in troops, he will loose face with the rest (and the majority) of America. His problem is he doesn't know which will hurt less!

      President Obama is not worried about Our Troops or America, he is only worried how he will look after he decides (if he ever does)!

    2. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      If the HF and GOP KNEW what to do,

      why don't they OFFER SUGGESTIONS.


    3. LEL, White Bear Lake says:

      Don't dither with the lives of America's sons & daughters – evacuate the troops NOW!

    4. ed, ohio says:

      I spent 27 years in the corporate world, and at the President & COO level, it always amazed me how my peers needed to delegate the big tough decisions to outside consultants and their recommendations. Then, after spending millions of shareholder dollars on consulting fees, which by the way they would guide the outcome toward their own bias, but later blame the consultants if their startegy didn't work. It's much easier to hide behind the consultants recommendations, than take responsibilty and accountabilty for their own…and then blame them later if yields a bad outcome. Sound familiar????

    5. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Why don't we just appease the Taliban with a worthless treaty

      and have Obama say, a la Neville Chamberlain: "We now have peace in our time"? It would be easier than sending troops to Afghanistan and it would be cheaper too. As SNL alum John Lovitz would say, "Yeah, that's the ticket!"

    6. Maggi Cook, Cincinna says:

      Someone much smarter than me said those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

      Between 1965 and 1968 over 35,000 young Americans were killed in South Viet Nam; nearly two-thirds of the war’s casualties occurred while President Johnson was pursuing his Great Society legislation. Johnson’s war policies were designed to support his grand domestic agenda of Civil Rights legislation, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, Fair Housing, Public Broadcasting, Age Discrimination Act, Freedom of Information Act, gun control and the space race. The liberals of the time made compelling, emotional arguments for all these changes.

      This brief history lesson is especially poignant for me. My older brother, 2nd Lt William Ammon, was killed in April, 1968 on Hill 881S near the Cambodian border. In 1968 our President was more liberal than the majority of Americans and focused with policies that would transform our country. Johnson did not listen to his generals but let liberal politicians and political interests guide his decisions as Commander In Chief. We know how that worked out for our country, for my family and thousands of other American families.

      Forty years later we have another liberal president and administration focused on their vision of a transformation to our country, while we have young Americans fighting and dying overseas. Candidate Obama said Afghanistan was a “war of necessity”. In March, President Obama told us he had hand-picked his General to pursue his strategy in Afghanistan. His General asked for additional troops to carry out his mission. In the meantime, this administration’s liberal agenda has run into significant and unexpected road blocks. Once again, we have a President trading lives for domestic political policy. And once again, my family is intimately connected the interplay between domestic policy and the demands of war. In April, 2007 my youngest son deployed to Iraq and is preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan. My eight-year old grandson wants to fly jets so he can provide air support for his dad.

      Command has several synonyms. Among them are compel, lead, manage, control; study is not one of them. Obama was not elected health provider in chief, diplomat in chief, explainer in chief or transformer in chief. He was elected commander in chief and it is well past time for him to fulfill that role.

      I hope and pray Hegel was not right when he said that we learn from history than man can never learn anything from history.

    7. Shawn, Ind. says:

      I agree Ozzy, it's all about power, position and strategies for political purpose.I guess it's just too bad for the guys caught in fire fights needing help. I just wonder how anxious Obama gets when his tea, coffee or whatever he drinks is late being served to him? Our troops deserve better, either give them help or pull them out. Don't turn them into statistical cannon fodder!

    8. Dave, Florida says:

      President obama is now finding out is is tough to be popular and be a leader. Real leaders make good decisions in a timely manner. I guess that sums up what kind of leader obama really is. At least "W" could make a decision, and allowed the Commanders to call the shots when it come to war.

    9. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      Obama and his entire Staff do not know diddly-squat about governing. The only thing Obama knows is Social Activism, using lies, thuggery, and arrogance. Otherwise he is a loser and a phoney.

    10. Richard K. Voelker/P says:

      as much as I've enjoyed various views & agree w/ the large majority, I find myself at a lose. I liken it to hearing wavering opinions from country club members & their whining sounds perdicable but only about what they don't like. I found myself in concert but then realized I was never hearing any sloutions. the questions were asked; are you on a committee; invariably it was no; & do you have a better solution; which was always met w/ silence. I draw the parrell to align my observation w/ your content; & quite aware of your involvment; but the negative banter is constant w/ no real suggestion or more importantly tell your subscribers what to do or where to go to affect real change. As I share your views via e-mail, all agree, but my sadness is the apathy of most. They need to be leed. Is ther an approach that can make a call to action to regalvanize the base, educate on where to go & what real solutions should look like? You have a dynamite opportunity that most do not. Enough bashing & let's get down to business.

    11. jake2 says:

      Go back and listen to Balloon Boy statement(90% LIES) during the election. Balloon boy had all the answers where did they go. poof poof obama didn't have nothing but ACORN doles stealing votes and a bunch of flashcards or are they tarrot cards obama read from. God Bless the United States and keep us safe, we don't have an adminstration that is.

    12. Christopher Popham S says:

      Get out of Afghanistan. Stop traveling around the world apologizing for American execptionalism.

      Stay in Washington and focus on healing and repairing OUR economy first.

      And so now, many Americans are expressing their willingness to be imprisoned should the mandates of HR 3962 be enforced. Now won't that be special? Thousands of citizens in jail for refusing to subscribe to a health care bill that is not good enough for the very people, who are attempting to make it law.

      The hypocrisy of it all.

      On so many fronts, the 21st Century American Revolution is taking shape.

      Good luck America.

    13. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      As a parent I was not always popular with my children, recently an adult child told me thanks, you stand your ground when kids want to do what you know is bad for them, a President should do the same, he should do what is good for the country NOT what is good for his popularity. Geo W. cared for the nation, history will prove him right, Geo. W. also believed in his God and our country.

    14. Susanne, New Mexico says:

      Can we all PLEASE stop saying "dithers"? I agree with this post, but the word is sounding like one of the MSM's talking points. EVERYBODY is using it, and it makes it sound like we are not thinking for ourselves.

    15. Millie says:

      Who knows what is really in Obama's mind. Leftist thinking is too twisted for me (I mean that sincerely rather than just as a mindless jab at Obama). He's finding out it's a lot easier to criticize when you're not the one having to make the decisions. He also appears to be afraid of offending Muslims.

    16. paul collins.the vil says:

      I don't care that obama may be critized regardless of which decision he makes.It isn't about him, it's about the lives of our troops and the future of our country.Send whatever is needed and let our troops do whatever is necessary to win .Otherwise show our enemies how weak we are and give them reason to think that they can destroy us.Obama is ruining our nation internally, so I guess he figures he can get our enemies to help.We better start changing this in 2010 or this country will cease to exist.If pelosi and reid are relected and

      obama in 2012, then our constitution will be completly distroyed and we will have become a socialistic dictatorship

    17. jim toledo says:

      I think the real point is that Obama doesn't believe in, any, military intervention and I think he despises having to make the decision in the first place. He would be willing to sit this one out for a while longer hoping that something may happen and the Taliban would just stop fighting. We know that's not even a possibility, so, every drop of an American soldiers blood falls on his shoulders. Either fight to win or get the troops out of harms way.

    18. Mary Jane McDaniel, says:

      President Obama has made his decision by not making a decision. He intends to let Afganistan go down the drain.

    19. Judy North Carolina says:

      The indecision is beginning to look like Johnson micromanaging the Vietnam war…calling the W/H to ask if a gun can be used in defense…Dave, Florida…yes, Obama thought it looked easy from the outside looking in…Now, the real person is showing…never been in the military, never run a business before, talking a big talk but can't walk the walk…

    20. Peggy Dial, Illinois says:

      I don't understand why there isn't absolute outrage from the public over Obama's delay in making a decision, while leaving the troops we have there in grave danger. Perhaps they need to be reminded of what the consequence of what our Generals predict ("losing") means for our troops? To be brutally frank – our troops there will either be killed or taken prisoner! Wake up America!

    21. Leith Wood, Virginia says:

      It is ovious that Mr. Obama has little use for or genuine interest in our American military. Now he leaves for Alaska and abroard to return one week before Thanksgiving. Some Commander In Chief! Take charge, decide now and own it. His behavior is sickening, weak and very harmful to all involved. Fight terrorism now.

    22. MJP, Maryville Tenne says:

      Should be no quandry for the Pres. If he is so against sending additional troops to AFGH. Send in the Elite Troops to eliminate as many of the bad guys as possible.

      Lower risk. Higher results.


    23. Keith, Texas says:

      And everyone thought having Palin as VP was a joke. Looks like the joke is sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. That is the problem when you get someone who has never had to make decisions, only vote present when a difficult proposition is presented.

    24. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      Hey! He needs to be either on US one, in front of a camera or posing for the press. When is he going to start honoring his oath? The people that put this clown in the oval office need to be held responsible. Some years ago,there was a movement to put all welfare recipients over age 18 in the military, it didn't go through because AACp and Cival Rights , got involved, I bet it would fly now, just think how much it would save, instead of welfare and sitting on ones butt, you learned to defend this nation that you think owed you a living.

    25. Jonathan Seid, Willi says:

      Regardless of the military option any administration employs in Afghanistan, the result will be the same. That is, corruption will follow and will continue after we leave, regardless of the military outcome.

      Afghanistan has been, is and will continue to be, a corrupt bastion of Islamic laws and Moslem clerics.

      The only thing that will change in Afghanistan is the number of American body bags.

      Short of applying nuclear weapons to cities and the mountainous enclaves, nothing we do will alter that culture, society and government. Read the history books.

    26. John Vitali, Edison, says:

      Could it be that President Obama is delaying a decision about Afhganistant until he has a better sense about how Congress will ultimately deal with his healthcare "reform" plan? If he approves more troops now won't he upset the liberal and progressive members of Congress upon whom he's relying for support of those "reforms"?

    27. Dean-Texas/Alaska says:

      Study physics and learn Chinese. Become a valuable individual. Our politcal correctness will not allow us to defend OUR freedoms, much less in other parts of the world. History shows that Obama's philosophy will lead this country to a very sticky end.

    28. E Fresquez says:

      obama's inability to make a decision that will help our soldiers in Afghanistan, shows what kind of leader he really is. he is looking for a way out of looking bad should something go wrong. he is interested in only looking good. I am glad that our former president did not lead in that fashion. We may not have liked all his decisions , but at least he made decisions that helped the soldiers when they needed it.

    29. Ken Brown says:

      How uninformed one must be to think a democracy (which we should not be) can be established in a Muslim nation….. we are very foolish.

      Ken Brown

    30. Danny/Fla says:

      Dear Morning Bell: Truth Shall Prevail. For every action, there is a reaction. The American People, Must reclaim, Truth.! Nothing happens by accident- The Road, that leads to less, prosperity is a road that brings everything, that goes along with it.There is truth in Freedom, There is Truth in liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, Tell me when you look into a childs eyes, what message- do you see? You were once a child/ What are your values now?.And can you tell me if they matter?Wrong action, is an mistake-Right action not only completes, what you are supposed to do, but alot more.Are you subjected to motives, that in wrong action-makes you pay, for the mistakes, of others? Come, Let us reason togather-that we may win- not be cast, upon a heap, because of some deterant of ill, will.

    31. JJF - Gloucester MA says:

      Once again, the Obama Administration (or Misadministration) could best be summed in 2 words.


    32. Pat-San Antonio says:

      Is there any way we could get George Bush back to make a decision for Mr. Obama? Bush was much better at it. Decisive, quick, and far smarter when it came to making decisions! Obama is going to think to death any meaningful action.

    33. Dean-Texas/Alaska says:

      America was a Constitutional Republic, a nation governed by the Rule of Law, not a "democracy" which is rule by the mob, which is what America is quickly morphing into under the rule of Obama.

      "When a small man casts a long shadow, beware."

    34. Wm. J. &Mary E. says:

      Obama is a Saul Alinsky nihilist and narcissist.

      Webster's dictionary definition: Nihilism is the doctrine that states that existing social, political and economic institutions must be des-

      troyed in order to make way for new institutions.

      A movement in Russia that advocated such revolutionary reform and carried it out by the use

      of terrorism and assassination. This is exactly what Obama and those around him are doing to us.The drums are beating and the American people know in their gut that something bad is happening!!! Mary E. Miller

    35. jadams76 washington says:

      Clearly Obama has shown what a mistake it was to give him the presidency as the first real job he's ever had. He can't just vote "present" and blame it all on someone else. He has to decide and he CAN'T. It is painfully obvious. Since that is the case, we need to get out now and avoid anymore loss of lives of our brave men and women with our "feckless leader" in charge doing half measures that get people killed. What I can't fathom is why more senior advisors and generals haven't resigned in protest over this nonsense? Don't are troops deserve someone at the top standing up for them?

    36. Ster, Denver says:

      What do you expect from a community organizer.

      Instead of doing what is proven to help the private-sector CREATE jobs, Obama is holding a 'jobs summit'. A freaking meeting. That's what organizers do, not leaders, not job creators.

    37. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Can't vote "present" on this one Pres. Obama

      Ken Jarvis – the GOP recommends Obama to "follow the military recommendations" – 40K more troops. This, of course, is assuming Obama still feels this is a war of necessity.

      The bigger problem is that Obama has minimal management experience and his tendency is to either micromanage or amanage (not manage at all). This is not a video game. It is real life and death decisions for all of us. Sadly, many of us feel "his change to believe in" is the wrong change. I pray that he gets this one right – but I doubt it.

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    40. Hal Metzger, Sr., Sc says:

      This obvious administrative procrastination about The Afghan theater is just one more item of a litany of Obama horrors that we have been bom-barded with from all the conservative talk show hosts for the past many months. Frankly it's very depressing in the sense that concerned Americans know all this and more and yet there is no leadership to give us hope for the immediate future. Obama can be stopped in his tracks – but how and when?

    41. Richard, Alabama says:

      President Obama's lack of experience, with the exception of being elected and speaking, unending ego, and speaking/lecturing shows what can he has accomplished in the real world decision making: nothing. He can't make a decision because he's afraid of offending his party, and he's more worried about being re-elected than being the President and Commander-in-Chief.

    42. Judith in Michigan says:

      Thank you, Maggie, of Cincinnati, for your family's service to our country. My prayers are with your son.

      We can only stop repeating history's mistakes by the the population becoming informed, standing up, and saying "Enough". This isn't just a trite sentiment. It is happening now across America.

      I firmly feel that this administration is deliberately degrading this country, militarily and otherwise, for their own ideological agenda.

      Make a decision on Afghanistan? If they wait long enough, they might not have to. A decision will be forced on them, good or bad. Left-wing radicals screeching and bellowing at conservatives? I say to them: "Who Cares! Facts are facts. Deal with it!"

    43. Bobbie Jay says:

      I believe the president has no concern of the safety of troops or this country…

      The troops are fighting against the corruption and murderous rampages of world governments. Fighting for the freedom all life has. We need the troops here! Let the world take care of their own. Obama is not a friend of America! And stealing from us, everything our troops are fighting for around the world!

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    45. Ben Harrison, Hemet says:

      Only one way to get rid of the likes of Barack Hussein Obama and his "advisors". Your vote. Vote out all incumbents. ALL. Start over and when they stray vote them out. If this does not occur then we are not going to survive as a Nation that we have known, or I have known for the past 75 years. A family in financial trouble cannot and does not "SPEND" its way out of debt and into financial stability. Ever have a homeless or some one on perpettual welfare start a successful business? Wake up people.

    46. Patty N. Oklahoma says:

      I agree. Obama needs to do SOMETHING! We are 'losing face' with our allies and the rest of the world because he cannot seem to make a decision. This makes him look very inadequate as a leader. He is inadequate, but it's not good for the rest of the world to see this. If he can't make a decision, he needs to leave his post and let Biden have it (as much as I hate to say that), but Biden DOES HAVE some military experience. At least he is not still 'wet behind the ears.'

    47. Al Reasin says:

      I have a son headed for either Iraq or Afghanistan for a second tour, so this decision by Mr. Obama has personal significance; either support your commanders or get out of Afghanistan. Half measures or decisions that are too late to improve our battle position can lead to a Dunkirk.

      With this president I have visions of seeing in Afghanistan the last helicopter leaving the roof of the US embassy as in Saigon. The Democrats abandoned South Vietnam because of the corruption in government and their peace at any price ideology even after our change in battlefield policies had given South Vietnam a stalemate in the war against North Vietman. We under cut them, they collapsed and over 2 million people died in Southeast Asia as a result. All decisions have consequences, but the decider has to have the vision to see them.

      As the Khmer Rouge closed in on the capital city of Phnom Penh in early April 1975, the United States offered a number of Cambodian officials a chance to escape. Sirik Matak, a former Cambodian prime minister, who was later killed by the Khmer Rouge, replied to the US Ambassador:

      'I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you, and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection, and we can do nothing about it.

      'You leave, and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under this sky. But, mark it well, that if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is no matter, because we are all born and must die. I have only committed this mistake of believing in you [the Americans].

      'Please accept, Excellency and dear friend, my faithful and friendly sentiments.'

    48. Jerry Smith Pendleto says:

      I believe that President Obama does not like the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and will do anything he can to destroy this GREAT COUNTRY any way he can.WE THE PEOPLE MUST STOP HIM AND ALL OF HIS AMERICA HATING BUDDY'S.

    49. Roger S., Ma. says:

      What profound insight, Al Reasin, and I couldn't agree more. Also, with Ben C.

      A commander is what a commander does:

      He commands! Voting "present" won't cut it!

      Takes guts to be that way, enough guts to be tough!

      "Hail fellow well met consultancies" just won't go!

      Anyway, where's the problem?

      He asked his commander in theater what was needed, and

      McCrystal told him. Whom else could he "consult" for

      better information? His AOPP (Astrologer of Party Politics)?

      Same thing with Fort Hood. Utterly clueless performance!

      A commander knows.

      A commander decides.

      A commander commands.

      — Period –

      The "Commander In Chief" who but once dares vote "present"

      All manner of soldiers will soon come to resent.

      Their lives at his hands worth less than their trust,

      They'll follow to battle, for follow they must…

      Don't remember where I read these lines or lines of this meaning, but they illustrate well what this man is — a canned recipe for disaster. Were we hoping for a miracle? Since when?

    50. Dan Shamrock, Knoxvi says:

      Obama is a weak President. He appears to be unable to make the tough decisions. He is still a community organizer and that is all he will ever be able to achieve. He stumbled or was shoved through a doorway that he should not have and unfortunately for the world is in a position that is well beyond his abilities. He is destined to be remembered as a weaker President than J. Carter was and in such a similar situation as to cause the U.S. to lose face across the Globe for his inabilities which leaves the world without a leader and consequentially in grave danger.

      A decision right or wrong would be less damaging than no decision at all. Waffling leaves too large a hole for the crazies to fill in, standing firm in any direction would at least give an impression that we had some direction. Instead we have one more career politician that is thinking only of his reelection. He can not see that is not going to happen no matter what he does in Afghanistan. All the while our soldiers are being left on the battlefield with no help coming from the (alleged) Commander In Chief.

    51. Mike, San Diego says:

      I am glad Obama is analyzing the war in Afghanistan – the costs are escalating at a cost in blood and treasure. Better he fully understand what the US is doing before he adds to the costs. Wish Bush/Cheney had analyzed Iraq better, maybe we wouldn't have wasted all that blood and treasure on a futile quest for non-existant nuclear weapons.

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