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February 09, 2009

Mr. Obama- You can't end wars, they are won or lost


My biggest fear about a President Obama was that he has a totally flawed view of what to do about our two ongoing wars. He was spectacularly clueless about what to do in Iraq and had we followed his bad advice we would have lost there. His continual demand that we "end" that war is symptomatic of his misunderstanding of the gravity of having US troops on a battlefield.

It is just this simple Mr. Wannabe Commander in Chief, and I say wannabe because while you hold the title you haven't earned it or the trust of the troops yet. The first SF team room I walked into had a sign over the Captain's desk that said "Shut up sir, we'll throw you a pen when we need you to sign something". That sign stayed up for every new Captain assigned to a team of seasoned NCOs to serve as their Detachment Commander, and it only came down when he had gained the trust and became the Team Leader. Well so far Mr. Obama you can hang onto your pen for a while yet. You have a choice to make about your BS 16 month withdrawal from Iraq campaign promise. It was BS when you first came up with it and it's BS now. Your military leaders came to you and told you this and we'll see if you listen to them or play politics. You, Reid, Murtha and the rest of the defeatocrats did your level best to lose that war and if President Bush wasn't a real leader you might have prevailed. I hope you have learned from that but you still seem to be lost as far as what the job of CinC entails. Well as a courtesy from this NCO to a new Commander, I will give you a very important lesson.

You can't end a war, you either win it or lose it.

Did you hear me sir? There is no endgame, no exit strategy, there is victory or defeat. President Bush knew that when he sent our troops into both Iraq and Afghanistan and Iraq. He also had the intestinal fortitude to stay and win in Iraq, when you were counseling retreat.


You also made a lot of noise during the campaign about how tough you would be in the "right" war Afghanistan. You claimed you'd invade Pakistan if you could find bin Laden and you talked about how Iraq was a distraction from the real battle against al Qaeda. You now face a choice about those promises and you have blown the first step. You brought in your military leadership and then asked them what the end game and exit strategy was. I don't know if anyone left a manual on your desk, but that is your job. You see Mr. President you are the one in charge and you are supposed to tell them what the goal is and what constitutes victory. Then they tell you how to make that happen. It's called civilian control of the military and you are the civilian in control.

So back to my lesson sir, you have to decide if you want to win or lose in Afghanistan. I know a bunch of folks have told you how hard it is to do anything there and they are right. Like many of your campaign promises things are a bit tougher to actually implement. The problem is that to win in Afghanistan will take time and you would have to actually stand on principle. You have yet to show any inclination toward doing that, so I worry you will make a token gesture and then cut and run when you catch some heat from your left. They cut you some slack while you were running about all the tough talk on Afghanistan. They knew that with your defeatist attitude on Iraq you needed the cover so you wouldn't come off like a pacifist. Well now you are the decider and the question is victory or defeat. If you choose defeat it will be yours to own, and if you choose victory it will take guts and the ability to ignore the howls to pull out.

Our military is not a tool to be used to further your political goals. I assume that is starting to sink in, and you still have to make the tough decisions. So man up sir, make the call and then prepare to stand by it. We'll see if the sign over your desk comes down.

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posted by Uncle Jimbo at 01:25 PM

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