Saturday, September 12, 2009

Joe Biden wants to keep his boss firmly in the quagmire

After the November election, Vice-President Elect Joe Biden told ABC's George Stephanopolous that Obama would do nothing until he heard from Joe:
"I think we should restore the balance here. The role of the Vice President of the United States as I see it is to give the President of the United States the best, sagest, most accurate, most insightful advice and recommendations he or she can make to a President to help them make some of the very, very important decisions that have to be made.

"When Barack Obama, Senator Barack Obama then talked to me about being his Vice President I said we have to – let’s talk and we spent three and a half hours talking and one of the things I asked was, I said I don’t want to be picked unless you’re picking me for my judgment. I don’t want to be the guy that goes out and has a specific assignment – an important assignment to reinvent government, which Al Gore did a great job of. Dealing with some specific discrete item. I said I want a commitment from you that in every important decision you’ll make, every critical decision, economic and political as well as foreign policy, I’ll get to be in the room."

Well, now we get a specific example of how that's working out for the two of them.
President Barack Obama's administration is sharply divided over whether to send more American troops to Afghanistan, with Vice-President Joe Biden and other senior figures arguing that it would be folly to escalate the fighting.

On this vital question, Mr Biden is sharply at odds with Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state.. He strongly opposes any large increase in US combat forces in Afghanistan, while Mrs Clinton has called for reinforcements, with the support of the Pentagon.

Mr Biden argues that escalating the fight against the Taliban using US troops would play into al-Qaeda's hands by stirring popular resentment and destabilising neighbouring Pakistan. It would also be politically damaging at home, where the American public is increasingly unwilling to tolerate high casualties....

Mr Biden, whose long experience of foreign policy is one of his key qualifications for the post, has long been critical of President Hamid Karzai's leadership in Afghanistan. His position has been boosted by the mounting evidence of widespread fraud in the recent presidential election.

So "the best, sagest, most accurate, most insightful advice and recommendation" foreign policy expert Joe Biden can offer his President is to let the NATO mission in Afghanistan die a slow death from neglect?
General Stanley McChrystal, the new American commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has submitted his classified assessment of the war to the White House. This is understood to lay out future options, ranging from sending 10,000 to 40,000 additional soldiers.

Gen McChrystal has privately made clear that he believes the greatest risk attaches to holding back on the reinforcements. What he considers the minimal option of sending between 10,000 and 15,000 more troops is also the riskiest choice, he argues.

Maybe Biden is thinking that he can work with the French to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan the way he and they drove Hizbollah out of Lebanon.

I feel sooooo much better about America's security knowing that Hole-in-the-Head Joe is giving our Commander-in-Chief his wise counsel.

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