Monday/Tuesday open thread (UPDATED)


Hey y’all – I’m feeling a lot under the weather tonight and so far, the chicken soup and the Dayquil aren’t really helping. Maybe a good night’s sleep will.

Catch y’all later.

Weds. Update – 10:06 AM: Sorry for the absence – I’ve been in bed fighting this cold for the last 36 hours or so. I’m feeling somewhat better this morning but am groggy and wiped out from all the meds.

Not sure if what I had/have was the H1N1 stuff, but whatever it was, it kicked my behind good. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do but am going to take it slow, so I will be blogging some today, but it will be light.

Thanks for all the well wishes :)

Profoundly inane quote of the day


Liberal Matthew Yglesias, on the various stories hitting the MSM about how Obama doesn’t appear to be making a whole lot of time for his generals on the issue of Afghanistan strategy (via Mark Hemingway):

Meanwhile, [s]ome of these stories about various generals not getting the kind of tender loving care from Obama that they came to expect from Bush seem to me to defy common sense. There’s a finite amount of time in the day. A major financial crisis and global recession arose last fall. Dealing with that takes time. Obama, unlike Bush, acknowledges the scientific evidence that the world is poised on the brink of catastrophic climate change. Dealing with that takes time. There’s a need for new financial regulations. Dealing with that takes time. A new administration needs to appoint hundreds of people to various jobs and get them confirmed. That takes times. And the administration is trying to pursue comprehensive health care reform. That also takes time. Doing lots of things that take lots of time leaves less time for other things.

But apparently not “less time” for things like jetting off to Copenhagen with the Mrs. to lobby for the Olympics to be held in Chicago. Apparently not “less time” to appear on David Letterman in order to sell ObamaCare. Apparently not “less time” to hold “town halls”/campaign stops on healthcare and other issues in swing districts across the country that the administration thinks Congressional Democrats have a chance of holding on to in 2010.

What “defies common sense” is Yglesias apparently believing that the issue of Afghanistan should be put on the back burner for all of the various things mentioned above that “take time.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t he one of the most vocal critics on Bush’s strategy in Afghanistan? Weren’t the left – including Obama – busy over the last year painting Bush as a derelict CIC, someone who “forgot” about Afghanistan and because of that, we needed a President who would refocus on the “war of necessity”? Weren’t the left proponents of “listening to our generals on the ground” when they were saying things that the left wanted to hear?

I guess we can chalk up the beating up of Bush on his Afghanistan strategy nothing more than another cheap, petty, and dangerous attempt by the left to use the war in Afghanistan for political gain. As Jim Geraghty said last month, it becomes more and more apparent that Democrats never meant what they said on Afghanistan:

The average Democrat doesn’t like fighting wars. They don’t like using military force. They don’t just dislike collateral damage and civilian casualties and flag-draped coffins; they cringe at the concept of combat with citizens of another country, even when the president has declared:

“Al Qaeda and its allies — the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks — are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban — or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged — that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”

That’s not the last president; that’s the current president, an entire six months ago.

Notice this only applies to the use of military force and violence overseas; as we’ve seen, these same folks have a very different reaction when they hear about a town-hall protester having his finger bitten off. The base of the Democratic party is fundamentally pacifist and isolationist and has extraordinary, although not complete, leverage over this White House. They want the rest of the world to go away so we can focus on creating the perfect health-care system.

It’s been reassuring to see President Obama authorize the use of force in Somalia and off its coast. But those who seek to kill Americans cannot always be eliminated in quick, clean, small missions using special forces. The mission in Afghanistan is different, and the man assigned to accomplish it says he needs more troops.

We now know liberal bloggers never meant what they wrote about Afghanistan. We will soon know if the president meant anything he said about that war on the campaign trail.

Considering how he handled the issue of Afghanistan while Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs* – which has jurisdiction over NATO – I’m not holding my breath.

*A position he took right around the same time he started running for President.

Has General Petraeus taken a back seat in the Obama war room?


The NYT has published a disturbing report about how the WH is wary of General David Petraeus’ recommendations on war strategy in both Afghanistan and Iraq because they believe he may have presidential ambitions (via ST reader Leslie):

WASHINGTON — Gen. David H. Petraeus, the face of the Iraq troop surge and a favorite of former President George W. Bush, spoke up or was called upon by President Obama “several times” during the big Afghanistan strategy session in the Situation Room last week, one participant says, and will be back for two more meetings this week.

But the general’s closest associates say that underneath the surface of good relations, the celebrity commander faces a new reality in Mr. Obama’s White House: He is still at the table, but in a very different seat.

No longer does the man who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have one of the biggest voices at National Security Council meetings, as he did when Mr. Bush gave him 20 minutes during hourlong weekly sessions to present his views in live video feeds from Baghdad. No longer is the general, with the Capitol Hill contacts and web of e-mail relationships throughout Washington’s journalism establishment, testifying in media explosions before Congress, as he did in September 2007, when he gave 34 interviews in three days.

The change has fueled speculation in Washington about whether General Petraeus might seek the presidency in 2012. His advisers say that it is absurd — but in immediate policy terms, it means there is one less visible advocate for the military in the administration’s debate over whether to send up to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.

General Petraeus’s aides now privately call him “Dave the Dull,” and say he has largely muzzled himself from the fierce public debate about the war to avoid antagonizing the White House, which does not want pressure from military superstars and is wary of the general’s ambitions in particular.

The general’s aides requested anonymity to talk more candidly about his relationship with the White House.

“General Petraeus has not hinted to anyone that he is interested in political life, and in fact has said on many occasions that he’s not,” said Peter Mansoor, a retired Army colonel and professor of military history at Ohio State University who was the executive officer to General Petraeus when he was the top American commander in Iraq.

“It is other people who are looking at his popularity and saying that he would be a good presidential candidate, and I think rightly that makes the administration a little suspicious of him.”

General Petraeus’s advisers say he has stepped back in part because Mr. Obama has handpicked his own public face for the war in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who last week gave an interview to CBS’s “60 Minutes,” met with Mr. Obama on Air Force One and used a speech in London to reject calls for scaling back the war effort.

That this WH harbors the belief that General Petraeus would put any alleged political ambitions ahead of what he feels is the best strategy for winning in Afghanistan – that this WH feels that the General would advocate more troops in Afghanistan specifically to please the Republican base, especially considering how he helped turned things around in Iraq, is an indicator of a WH completely out of touch with reality in terms of the value Petraeus’ vast knowledge and experience brings to the table, an out of touch with reality in terms of the level of respect our men and women in uniform have for the General and his opinions.

Jennifer Rubin blasts the Commander in Chief for his treatment of his war generals:

The Democrats and their cheerleaders in the punditocracy used to scream for President George W. Bush to listen to his generals. Then Bush got better generals, listened to them, and avoided defeat in Iraq. Obama, it seems, is bent on ignoring his generals. If he takes the advice of Joe Biden instead of those expert on counterinsurgency (and with a track record of getting war strategy right), the results may be disastrous not only on the battlefield but also in the court of public opinion. The public already trusts the generals more than Obama to make decisions about Afghanistan. And if Obama — based on nothing more than “I changed my mind” — rejects the advice of his military commanders, the public may wonder what exactly motivates the commander in chief and whether the best and the brightest military minds were hired just for show.

I’m wondering already.