Thursday, October 08, 2009

WP: Obama leadership lacking or "Gap in understanding"

I am not sure why the Washington Post wrote this article. It appears to do nothing more than highlight the President has not really lead on the Afghan issue and it appears that the President still does not know which direction to head.

US Military leaders are confused as to what the mission is and how to implement the plan. US civilian leaders in the Afghan debate are also confused.

The the credit of the WP, they do manage to talk about the mass confusion in the Afghan debate without blaming Obama for a lack of leadership.

Instead the WP is calling Obama's lack of leadership, "a gap in understanding".

The meetings now underway in Washington are rooted in part in the gap in understanding that became evident in March. This account of how it opened up is based on interviews with several senior civilian members of the administration and military officers directly involved in Afghanistan issues.

Military leaders are confused and frustrated:

To the military, however, the only way to do counterinsurgency is by protecting the population.

"We were operating under the assumption that when they said COIN, that's what they meant," said a senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan, "and they were serious about committing the necessary resources."
COIN means counter insurgency.

Civilian leaders are confused and frustrated:

To some civilians who participated in the strategic review, that conclusion was much less clear. Some took it as inevitable that more troops would be needed, but others thought the thrust of the new approach was to send over scores more diplomats and reconstruction experts. They figured a counterinsurgency mission could be accomplished with the forces already in the country, plus the 17,000 new troops Obama had authorized in February.

Back in March, media goons praised the wisdom of President Obama and his great leadership skills based on a White Paper released by the White House.

Everybody, including the military and the civilian leaders, are now looking at that White Paper trying to figure out which direction they are to go to implement the mission in Afghanistan. Nobody appears to have any clue as to which direction to go.

Even the President himself is going back and rereading the White Paper to figure out what he is supposed to do.

Last Tuesday evening, to prepare for a meeting the next day to discuss Afghanistan strategy with his national security team -- the first of several sessions to determine whether more troops will be sent -- Obama reread the white paper.

People are dying and our President is going back and rereading his own paper trying to figure out what direction he plans on going.

My advice to the need to start by fixing that "gap in understanding". It is called leadership, Mr. President. Either find the courage to lead or get the hell out of the way and let the generals on the ground handle this.

People wonder why McChrystal is breaking the chain of command on this issue. Here is your answer. He is attempting to step into the leadership void this country currently has on this issue. Without leadership, McChrystal is well aware of what will happen to US troops under his command. Our US troops die for no apparent reason other than lack of leadership.

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