Obama attempted to rebut criticism, including from here at Liberty Works, that the 90 days he spent ruminating on General McChrystals recommendations and troop requests was an inexcusable delay, undermining US troops and encouraging the enemy. Here’s his weasel language:
There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period.
Long experience with Obama’s rhetoric makes us skeptical. This assertion is probably based on a twisted interpretation of the lead time required to pack, load, and transport the troops and their equipment.
The fact is that on August 30 General McChrystal submitted his strategy and troop request to accomplish the mission Obama assigned to him. Had Obama acted sooner, the logistical preparations would have begun sooner and boots would have hit the ground in Afghanistan sooner. The 90 day decision cycle means boots will hit the ground two months later than they would have after a 30 day decision cycle.
Obama went on:
This review is now complete. And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
For an instant the President almost sounded like a decisive leader with the resolve and passion to prevail, even though he decided to deploy fewer troops than the 40,000 to 60,000 General McChrystal requested. But in the very next sentence Obama reverted to cynical politician, seeking to appease the blowhards in the anti-war left:
After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.
Its hard to overstate the damage done by such an assertion from the Commander In Chief. The Al Qaeda enemy Obama claims to be fighting will seize upon this promise as proof that America is led by a man who has no stomach for a fight and can be defeated through attrition and simple refusal to give up.
Most wars end when one side decides, for whatever reason, it cannot continue to fight and gives up. Al Qaeda, and the young disaffected populations they recruit from, will perceive this as a signal that they can humiliate and prevail over the world’s only super-power if they can manage to hang on until mid 2011, when the Commander In Chief has promised he will begin a withdrawal.