Obama has talked to Afghanistan commander only once

Posted on September 28, 2009

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stanley mcchrystal

In an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, the commanding American general in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, said he has spoken with President Obama only once in the 70 days he has held the post. The admission comes right after an assessment by Gen. McChrystal that warns of failure of Afghanistan if more resources aren’t committed to the conflict there. The administration’s response to the assessment has been, thus far, to shelve the request until some time in the future.

With the two moves, the administration has displayed a surprising amount of laissez-faire indifference to a conflict that candidate Obama said be should be the focus in the War on Terror. That we no longer call it the War on Terror should give you the first clue about the Obama administration’s true willingness to act assertively in the fight against violent extremism. It begs the question – what exactly does the Obama administration plan on doing in Afghanistan? Candidate Obama had indicated a surge strategy might be a viable option, but now it seems even that is being balked at.

It doesn’t do anything to quell suspicions that the plan is simply to do nothing controversial and merely withdraw without much fanfare from both countries. The public assumed that Obama might take a different course in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I doubt that they expected him to take such a defeatist position. I’m going to give the President the benefit of the doubt, but the apparent neglect of Afghanistan doesn’t inspire me with much confidence.

And, as Ed Morrissey notes, it’s also worth considering that while the President can’t make the time to talk to his top man in Afghanistan, he apparently has enough free time to travel to Copenhagen to push for the Chicago Olympic bid. The priorities are so far out of whack it’s disturbing.

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Posted in: News, Politics