This aspersion was cast recently in a blog comment, and it was true. IMO, this kind of comment is a denigrating reference to the
President’s lack of personal military experience and it could have come from Rush Limbaugh. (But it didn’t. It was typed in a passionate blog debate.) It is to Obama’s credit that he characteristically does not rise to the bait for this sort of thing. BTW, I had to be taught how to salute too. It was in July, 1955 and I was 18, having failed to perform my Community Organization duties before reporting to the Navy.
I don’t agree with the President all the time and I have criticized his fiscal policies often. I think the spending has been too much of the kind that just dumps money on problems and fails to leverage jobs. But at the same time, I am sure no economist. Handling the GR isn’t easy. History will judge whether Obama missed the target on that. But I just read something that gives me new confidence that he has his, let’s say STUFF, together as Commander in Chief. It is another article derived from Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars.” It reveals the following:
“The president comes across in the review and throughout the decision-making process as a commander in chief who is analytical, strategic and decisive, with a broad view of history, national security and his role,” the official told CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry.
The official said Obama wanted concise answers to questions about the capacities of the Afghan government and whether a counterinsurgency strategy could be effective there. The official said Obama wanted to know
exactly what kind of U.S. presence was required and what could realistically be achieved in the immediate future.
Woodward reveals a president greatly at odds with top military advisers Gen. David Petraeus and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Woodward writes that dissent turned into name-calling on both sides, the Post reported. At one point, Petraeus felt shut out and told an aide that he considered Obama adviser David Axelrod a “complete spin doctor.”
This is not a description of a vacillating novice in military matters, but just the opposite.
Obama let his admiration be known early on for Lincoln’s cabinet
of adversaries – that he wanted strong advisers who would present him with all viable options, the opposite of yes men. This appears to be the case here. It is the military’s job to present military advice, strategic and tactical, and then to carry out the decisions of the Commander in Chief. Grand strategy, it seems to me, is a step above that. Anyway, only a strong leader with a sense of history would control the process, and it appears to me that Obama is doing just that.
It improves my opinion further that the book “. . . describes a frustrated president who urgently sought an exit plan, only to be provided with options that involved increased U.S. troop levels . . . “, and,
“This needs to be a plan about how we’re going to hand it
off and get out of Afghanistan,” Obama is quoted as telling his aides as he agreed to a short-term escalation of 30,000 troops, according to the Post.
These sentiments echo my own and give me renewed optimism that, militarily speaking, this President is a fast learner after all.