The Best Defense

Three Things We Need From Obama on Afghanistan

It seems to be a given that President Obama will send about 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. So to me the three big questions are:

  • What are we going to do about the corruption and abuses of the Afghan government, arguably a more troublesome foe than the Taliban?
  • How does what we are doing relate to the security problems in Pakistan, to me a far bigger worry than anything happening in Afghanistan?
  • Perhaps most importantly, is his heart in it, and can he bring along a good portion of the American people, especially part of his base? Or is he gonna say we're giving it 12 months and then we're outta here?

Tip from a friend: If he uses the phrase "exit strategy," or dwells on the subject, then you'll know you're probably looking at a one-term president. In other words, file under "Jimmy Carter," not "Abe Lincoln."

Interesting note from a reader: "The guy I would like to hear from on this is Petraeus. I would love to hear him look Congress and the American people in the eye and say, ‘I think this can work.'  I haven't heard much from him lately." Where have you gone, Dave Petraeus? A nation turns it worried eyes to you.

I discussed this on NPR on Saturday, but you don't need to listen because you just read what I had to say.


The Best Defense

Busted in Bahrain

The Navy continues the tradition of relief, ousting the commander of its base in Bahrain just two weeks before he was scheduled to leave. Ouch.

I think the Army could benefit from looking at this Navy tradition. The Army used to oust a lot more people -- George Marshall's first division commander in World War I got the hook, as did one of his commanders in China during the interwar period. And during WWII he certainly didn't hesitate to throw overboard division commanders and even corps commanders -- at least 20 all told. The difference is that relief back then was not necessarily a career-ender.

Flickr/Harold Laudeus