After months of deliberating, President Obama opted not to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
That stance comes in the midst of forceful reservations about a possible troop buildup from the U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, according to a second top administration official
The president is looking for ways to improve the political situation before committing to a troop increase. Now, try and put this into perspective. The president has scant military and foreign policy experience and he's looked all the military options on the table suggested to him by generals and other military experts and decided he doesn't like any of them.
Here's the problem for the president. No matter what path he chooses it will be a path filled with pitfalls. The president is looking for a plan that simply doesn't exist. Even in the best of circumstances, war plans are filled with pitfalls. We are under much less than ideal circumstances in Afghanistan. The president is looking for ideal where there is chaos.
The president also wants to look at ways to improve the political situation. All third world countries have terribly corrupt governments. That's the main reason that they are third world. This government will be terribly corrupt for years, decades, and maybe even centuries. That's what happens in the third world. That's one of the reasons that strong men flourish in third worlds. The people get sick of the corruption and that vacuum gives a strong man the opportunity to take over.
Plans must take all this into account. They must also account for reality. The idea that Hamid Karzai will suddenly root out corruption is naive and unrealistic. If we provide a plan that tamps down the violence, there will be a decrease in the corruption. It will give Karzai an opportunity to exert more control. President Obama is expecting miracles when he needs to expect reality. The Iraqi government was similarly hapless and corrupt, and then we cut the violence exponentially and what followed was a significantly more effective government.
Let's make no mistake. No one will mistake Nuri Al Maliki for Thomas Jefferson any time soon. There's still plenty of problems in the Iraqi government, society, and overall. Still, once the violence was tamped down, everything else followed. The same thing can happen in Afghanistan. President Obama must begin to realize that forty year military folks know more about military strategy than he does. He must start being realistic and make decisions based on what is happening not what he'd like to happen.