Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That funny 2011 ....

I think you can put this down to preemptive 4th order effects to the growing critical mass that is the JUL 2011 Strategic Confusion.

In an interview with
Fred Kaplan at Foreign Policy:
Gates, who turns 67 in September, says he wants to leave the job and retire, this time for good, sometime in 2011. "I think that it would be a mistake to wait until January 2012," he said. It might be hard to find a good person to take the job so late, with just one year to go in the president's current term. And, he added, "This is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of an election year."
Will the President's decision to cut-n-run on a timetable like his political advisers will push vs. follow the advice of his military wing to finish what we started have something to do with his decision?

We'll have to wait and see. The troubling mention of 2011 though worries me. A very interesting 10 months.

Oh, one last thing from the interview. A little love for the 'ole USN.
He is the secretary of defense; he has to pick his fights. At one point in our interview, he noted that he's not proposing to cut the number of aircraft carriers. When I asked why not, he replied, "I may be bold, but I'm not crazy."
OK, maybe not a heart-felt love - maybe closer to fear; but I'll take it.


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the old "cut-n-run" rhetoric.  That really takes me back about six years.

cdrsalamander said...

Me too.  Oh, and we were right.  In case you forgot - we declared victory in Iraq the fall of '08.  

The anti-victory, anti-surge people were wrong about Iraq - they are wrong about AFG.  The problem now is that we don't have a CINC who is focused on a path to victory.  He is focused on a way out.

AFG was always a harder nut than Iraq to crack.  You need smart leadership to see it through.  Can Obama find a reason to listen to the best military advice?  I hope so.

Anonymous said...

The "cut-n-run" rhetoric entered the Iraq debate well before the surge did.  I agree completely that those who supported the surge were right, but speaking as someone who was on the ground in Iraq in 2006 when things were looking pretty crappy, I remember that it took the "stay the course" crowd some time (and an electoral defeat) to warm up to the idea of a change in strategy.  There were a lot of us who thought that if the President and SECDEF weren't going to do what needed to be done, we ought to cut our losses and get out.  They deserve credit for getting it right--and criticism for taking so long to get there.

It took us five years to win in Iraq.  Next year we'll have been in Afghanistan for ten.  I get that AFG is a harder nut to crack, but at some point we will have invested more in AFG than it's worth to us.  It's the job of the military brass to lay out what we can accomplish, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.  It's the President's job to decide if that's realistic and in our national interests.  The best military advice is not always the best advice.

The Usual Suspect said...

It all comes down to having the political will to finish the job.  The American Military can rise to any challange and accomplish any task put before it.  The only thing that has stopped us since the end of WWII is the lack of will inherent in the political class that only sees as far as the last poll and the next election.  You can only have peace by totally defeating your enemy; otherwise, it is just a lull in the battle providing them time to re-arm.  You needn't look any further than the DPRK for proof.  I have no  faith in the current occupant of the White House and his handlers.