Obama Nixed Full Surge After Quizzing Brass

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (IPS) — President Barack Obama decided to approve only 17,000 of the 30,000 troops requested by Gen. David McKiernan, the top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, and Gen. David Petraeus, the CENTCOM commander, after McKiernan was unable to tell him how they would be used, according to White House sources.

But Obama is likely to be pressured by McKiernan and the Joint Chiefs to approve the remaining 13,000 troops requested after the completion of an Afghanistan-Pakistan policy review next month.

Obama’s decision to approve just over half the full troop request for Afghanistan recalls a similar decision by President Lyndon B. Johnson to approve only part of the request for U.S. troop deployments in a parallel situation in the Vietnam War in April 1965 at a comparable stage of that war. Johnson reluctantly went along with the request for additional troops within weeks under pressure from both the field commander and the Joint Chief of Staff.

The request for 30,000 additional troops, which would bring the U.S. troop level in Afghanistan to more than 60,000, had been approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as by Defence Secretary Robert Gates before Obama’s inauguration. A front-page story in the Washington Post Jan. 13 reported that Obama was ready to “sign off” on the deployment request.

On Jan. 30 Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said between 20,000 and 30,000 more troops would “probably” be sent to Afghanistan and the figure would “tend toward the higher number of those two.”

But on Feb. 9, Mullen indicated that the Pentagon would soon announce that three brigades, or about 16,000 troops, would be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming months.

What had changed in the nine days between those two statements, according to a White House source, was that Obama had called McKiernan directly and asked how he planned to use the 30,000 troops, but got no coherent answer to the question.

It was after that conversation that Obama withdrew his support for the full request.

The unsatisfactory response from McKiernan had been preceded by another military non-answer to an Obama question. At his meeting with Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon Jan. 28, Obama asked the Joint Chiefs, “What is the end game?” in Afghanistan, and was told, “Frankly, we don’t have one,” according to a Feb. 4 report by NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski.

Obama had also learned by early February that earlier assurances from Petraeus of an accord with Kyrygistan on use of the base at Manas had been premature, and that the U.S. ability to supply troops in Afghanistan would be dependent on political accommodations with Russia and Iran.

The rationale from the military leadership for doubling the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, even without a strategy or a concept of how the war could end, had been to “buy time” for an effort to build up Afghan security forces, as indicated by Mullen’s Jan. 30 remarks.

The 17,000 troops, on the other hand, presented the upper limit of what Obama had pledged to add in Afghanistan during the campaign, according to Lawrence Korb of the Centre for American Progress, who was an adviser to Obama.

Korb told IPS that Obama’s decision not to wait until the key strategic questions were clarified before sending any more troops was based on the belief that he had to signal both Afghans and Pakistanis that the United States was not getting out of Afghanistan, according to Korb. “There are a lot of people in both countries hedging their bets,” said Korb.

McKiernan reminded reporters Wednesday that the 17,000 troops represent only about two-thirds of the number of troops he has requested. That complaint suggested that he had been given no assurance that the remainder of the troops would be approved after the policy review.

The Wall Street Journal quoted an administration official Wednesday as saying that the troop authorisation addresses the “urgent near-term security needs on the ground,” but “does not prejudge or limit the options of what the [Afghanistan] review may recommend when it’s completed.”

Obama may have become more wary of getting mired down in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan, despite his strong commitment to increasing troops to Afghanistan during the campaign.

Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, on whom Obama has reportedly relied for advice on foreign policy, told Sam Stein of the Huffington Post Wednesday, “We have to decide more precisely what is the objective of our involvement. Because we are increasingly running the risk of getting bogged down both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan in pursuit of objectives which we are lacking the power to reach.”

Brezinzski said the administration needed “very specific, narrow objectives”.

Korb told IPS that the policy review will deal with political-diplomatic as well as military policy issues, including the option of seeking to incorporate at least elements of the insurgents into the government through negotiations. He recalled that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been advocating negotiations with the Taliban for two years.

Both Obama’s decision to agree to just over half of his field commander’s request for additional troops and the broader strategic situation offer striking parallels with the decision by President Lyndon B. Johnson in April 1965 to approve 36,000 out of a 49,000 troop request for Vietnam.

Johnson’s decision, like Obama’s, was made against a background of rapid deterioration in the security situation, worry that the war would soon be lost if more U.S. troops were not deployed, and an unresolved debate over how the troops would be employed in South Vietnam. Some of Johnson’s advisers still favoured a strategy of protecting the key population centres, whereas the field commander, Gen. William Westmoreland, was calling for a more aggressive strategy of seeking out enemy forces.

Another parallel between the two situations is high-level concern that too many U.S. troops would provoke anti-U.S. sentiment. That was the primary worry of some of Johnson’s advisers about the effect of deploying three divisions in South Vietnam.

Similarly, Gates said Dec. 14 he would be “very concerned” about deploying more than the 30,000 troops requested by McKiernan, because, “At a certain point, we get such a big footprint, we begin to look like an occupier.” Gates repeated that point in Congressional testimony Jan. 27, in which he again stressed the failure of the Soviet Union with 120,000 troops.

McKiernan, on the other hand, said Wednesday, “There’s always an inclination to relate what we’re doing with previous nations,” he said, adding, “I think that’s a very unhealthy comparison.”

Johnson was worried about sliding into an open-ended commitment to a war that could not be won. But two months later he gave in, against his better judgment, to a request from Gen. William Westmoreland, the commander in Vietnam, for “urgent reinforcements”. The escalation of the war continued for another two years.

Obama now faces the prospect that the Joint Chiefs will renew their support for McKiernan’s request for the remaining 13,000 troops next month. And if the full 30,000 troop increase proves to be insufficient, he is likely to face further requests later on for “urgent reinforcements.”

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, was published February 14, 2014. Read other articles by Gareth.

35 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Max Shields said on February 21st, 2009 at 9:21am #

    Mr. Porter, this is quibbling.

    The American imperial empire needs to GET OUT of the Middle East and pull out its bases throughout the world NOW.

    Small footprints/big footprints is bull shit imperial talk.

    If my point seem harsh and not sensitive to poor Obama’s Hamlet dilemma, it is meant to be because the US is an imperial death machine. There is no in between realpolitik NWO strategizing that makes human sense. Only the military industrial complex worries about size of scope and scale of our fuc*king “footprint”.

    Out out out out out out out out out of Iraq, Afghanistan and shutdown the 800 bases world wide. The US economic is in free fall, and we’re talking about WHAT!!!! Conversations between Generals and POTUS concerning troop size deployment….here’s how this talk is spelled CRAZY!!!

  2. bozh said on February 21st, 2009 at 9:37am #

    did i miss it or was there no word about hunting ‘terrorists’ with jets, tanks, artillery, army?

    so the hunting season is over? and building an afghan army to hunt for ‘terrorists’ is at this time in an unknown stage but preciseness of the situation avoided.

    of course, building an army to fight own citizens on behalf of an alien (in many ways) empire had been tried before. i do not know how or if such ploys were successful.
    thnx

  3. Max Shields said on February 21st, 2009 at 10:09am #

    Wait, I see what I’m missing. Mr. Obama was too young to remember Vietnam.

    He’s working on integrating the grandeur and mythologies of Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton…and skipped over the whole fuc(king LBainesJohnson history lesson!!!!

    Did he even get the memo that with all of our warring, the US has not won a war since WWII (and that was a dubious win since the Russians had done most of the Western front fighting before the US even entered the theater).

    Let me put it brasquely – we’ve got SHIT for leadership.

  4. bozh said on February 21st, 2009 at 10:24am #

    i have good news for yous.
    obama has no son; so, we will never have O2 for prez. now, for even better news, O’s wife, what’s her name, will beat out hillary in the ’16 race for the prez. thnx

  5. Eddie said on February 21st, 2009 at 11:16am #

    Gareth Porter has made himself into an Obama apologist. Every week brings a new “It’s not Barack’s fault!” piece from Porter. So when he offers yet another with yet another unnamed source who tells Gareth Porter just what he wants to hear I’m having a hard time telling the difference between Gareth Porter and Judith Miller. Miller helped cover for Bush, Porter covers for Barack.

  6. SpargeL said on February 21st, 2009 at 11:18am #

    :-)) bozh, Max, good comments :-))
    Wait! … Herbert Bush has another capable son, one that was the BOSS of the TWINS-Security Company (you know, these are the guys that puted that “high-temperature cutter-charges such as thermite, HMX or RDX or some combination thereof” in the WTC buildings between 1993 and 2001 – by CLINTON!, the peaceful lamb. Jimmy cARTER, another holy lamb started to finance THE TALIBANS, it was him that started and not Reagan!…).
    Don’t know, Florida-JEP Bush the Baccardi-house-dog, what is with that crap? Lots of Presidential possibilities by that GOP :-))))))

  7. Max Shields said on February 21st, 2009 at 12:18pm #

    Eddie,
    you analysis is right on.

  8. Suthiano said on February 21st, 2009 at 12:41pm #

    Funny that Mr. Porter didn’t get any info on real reasons for sending more troops: to further control opium production and trafficking… not to eliminate it, but to make sure that the profits are going to the right banks/people. This war was so necessary that even NATO had to get in on the action.

    Where in the world is Osama bin Laden? Since his financing has never come from Afghanistan what are we doing there? What are we doing there? Someone in the press should research that question (not just take official statements as truth). “What are we doing in Afghanistan?”… then the “why?” would follow. But press is also owned by drug traffickers and war profiteers, so truth is not discussed.

  9. cemmcs said on February 21st, 2009 at 12:59pm #


    The American imperial empire needs to GET OUT of the Middle East and pull out its bases throughout the world NOW.

    Right on!

  10. Brian said on February 21st, 2009 at 1:20pm #

    This guy is so wedded to neo liberalism and imperialism nothing short of total disaster will move him off his conservative default perch. Even then he’ll still put these clowns who keep crashing airplanes at the controls of even more expensive brand new planes(all while actually thinking they can fly the goddamn thing).

    Obama’s Adminstration and most of his advisors remind me of the David Bowie song, Always Crashing in the Same Car.

  11. Max Shields said on February 21st, 2009 at 2:09pm #

    Let’s be clear, from an imperial empire perspective, the US is NOT in Afghanistan because of the Taliban nor Osama Bin Laden.

    The empire is reckless and murderous, but it is not stupid. It is there because there are pipelines in that region (US bases on the Caspian sea). These pipelines require the empire to secure the region, “stablize” it to for occupation and a free flow of oil and natural gas. Afghanistan doesn’t have the energy, it is a vital pass through. See: http://www.newhumanist.com/oil.html It is also juxtaposed to Russia who has some significant interest in access.

    Poppy is big black market business and figures into the world’s global economy, but I don’t the idea that the MIC and the Brzezinski imperial “strategic chess board” cares one iota about that over that ENERGY.

    You don’t run an expansionist empire on poppy, you run it on crude.

  12. Ramsefall said on February 21st, 2009 at 2:42pm #

    Yes, Max, the US has shit for leadership. I believe though that this might even be too generous and far-stretched an assessment for the likings of such sub-humans that represent the entrenched US plutocracy.

    We just ended a 28-year dynasty essentially run by two families, and people believe that represents democracy. Big joke.

    So, Obama promised change and thus far nothing of the sort has been detected. The Empire with projects like PNAC won’t be sideswiped by puppets in Washington. It seems that this article is lacking criticism of Obama’s decision making skills — he approved more than half of the generals’ request toward a build up in Afghanistan, plus he approved illegal bombing in Pakistan since taking office. How do Obama’s supporters like their agent of change now? What a joke, it’s apparent that you can shovel people extra helpings of shit and they’ll come back asking for seconds.

    Obama supporters should be ashamed of themselves for being duped yet again. When will these sheeple learn that change will never be proposed by the Establishment which continues to protect its own interest and agenda?

    Best to all.

  13. bozh said on February 21st, 2009 at 3:03pm #

    question, question,
    is O the leader or a leader or a Dear Leader? or is O just a manager? a cover boy and his wife cover girl? i cannot tell! any smoking evidence for O being the DEAR LEADER? not much, huh? how about a leader? i don’t see any! how about a (s)elected manager?
    yes, even my apolitical wife sees evidence for that.
    whether O and mate are cover people, i can’t tell because i don’t even look at magazines.
    so, i need USans’ help to tell us in how many magazines O will be a coverboy or may be even cowboy.
    wasn’t every prez to date at least once appeared on a cover as cowboy?
    thnx

  14. Max Shields said on February 21st, 2009 at 3:37pm #

    In fact, it is my understanding that he has NOT nixed the proposed build up, he has provided a significant build up with the option to increase to levels based on what he’s told is happening.

    The point, obviously, is not the “nixing” of some General’s recommendation, but the whole direction of the war project – it’s full steam ahead. Ramesfall, exactly, no change.

  15. Hue Longer said on February 21st, 2009 at 3:55pm #

    Where’s those guys from Progressives for Obama? Do they take credit for this “nixing”. All their hard work paying off? Must be too busy organizing their next success

  16. rg the lg said on February 21st, 2009 at 7:05pm #

    Regarding shit shoveling … (from an expert … I grew up on a small dairy farm, and shit-shoveling was a high art) …

    The American people are not being fed shit because they don’t understand … rather because they understand all too well.

    Think about it this way: Even the POOR in the US are wealthy by world standards. Even the dumbest American knows that is a fact. They also know that if we do not maintain the empire the wealthy will remain wealthy … it is the poor that do have the most to lose. In spite of people living out of their cars, and on the streets, those poor amongst us remain (relative to the poor in other countries) wealthy.

    So, no one seriously wants the empire to fail … not even the poor.

    Stick it to ‘em has been our motto since the first colonists hit the east coast … and stick it to ‘em is still our mantra.

    Economic/ecological collapse may change things for the better (ie, fewer of us on the planet) but the best scenario for the planet is zero humans …

    Cynically (cynicism is the hard shell an idealist grows to protect the ideal from reality),

    RG the LG

  17. Max Shields said on February 22nd, 2009 at 6:07am #

    RG the LG,

    Who said the poor “want” the empire to fall? And who said anything about “shit shoveling”?

    But more importantly empires don’t crash and burn because the people “inside” them “want” them to crash and burn or collapse.

    On the other hand, what makes you think the poor or anyone else is out doing the Empire’s work. Yea the unemployed youth may join the military, but not to save the empire, but to secure some food and shelter with the hope of minimal exposure to danger.

    This Empire, like all that collapse, is unsustainable at every level. That means the what really matters isn’t really interested in “wants”; but rather in “needs”. And this empire is NOT needed.

  18. Ramsefall said on February 22nd, 2009 at 7:38am #

    rg the lg,

    I have done my share of shit shoveling as well, albeit not metaphorically as I mentioned, but the elemental type that we both know.

    You’re correct about the US poor being relatively wealthy by world standards. However, once you calculate the cost of living in the US as compared to other regions of the world where it only takes a fraction of what is needed to survive, the US poor are still accurately categorized as poor by the standard which they are judged. In any society, the escalating number of poor without access to basics like food, shelter, education and medicine, is unacceptable based on human standards.

    I agree that the best scenario for the planet is zero humans, assuming that the only means of living is polluting the planet and decimating resources irresponsibly as we have been doing. There are other ways though once we remove the capitalist system that blinds human rationality. With such a hard focus on profit, mankind will never reach a sustainable approach to living in harmony with the planet on which we depend. Nor will that ever be achievable while we live under the rule of old, elite bloodlines that have ruled humanity for centuries. Get rid of the elite and their capitalist system, and perhaps the people can come up with more syncronistic ways of living that value stewardship and compassion. It’s a long shot, but it’s not impossible.

    Cynicism fails to address any sort of rational solution to our mounting problems. Everyone, however, is entitled to their own perspective.

    Best to you.

  19. Atiya said on February 22nd, 2009 at 8:24am #

    So what is the solution now that Obama has dashed our hopes? Are we stuck with this guy for the next four years or can we do something befor that?

  20. Beverly said on February 22nd, 2009 at 5:47pm #

    Just get the f@#k out. Get out of Iraq. Get out of Afghanistan. Stay the hell out of Latin America. And don’t even think about picking a fight with Iran.

    While you’re at it, get out of Africa. Western meddling and NGOs make more problems than they solve over there. It’s time for African leaders to get their shit together and run their own nations.

    Oh yeah, Fauxbama ain’t that young. He was old enough to remember Cronkite giving a running tally on dead and wounded at the end of his newscasts. And if he picked up a book or other reading material during his formative years, he came across Vietnam stories. This, along with his 6-figure Harvard education, ought to have given him the sense to know a quagmire when he sees one.

  21. Ramsefall said on February 22nd, 2009 at 6:21pm #

    Applause for Beverly, straightforward and honest.

    Best to you.

  22. Josie Michel-Brüning said on February 23rd, 2009 at 4:49am #

    Just an addition to the following said by SpargeL:
    “Jimmy cARTER, another holy lamb started to finance THE TALIBANS, it was him that started and not Reagan!…).”
    After “9/11″ http://www.globalreasearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html published on October 25, 2001, an interview by Le Nouvel Observateur Paris 15-21 January, 1998, with Zbigniew Brzezinski when he had boasted that he had initiated (without Jimmy Carter’s knowing) that the CIA had supported with weapons the Taliban and Mudjahedin before the Soviet Union were called for help by the Nadjibulah regime, which had been democraticly elected.
    Apart from that, I join the applause for Beverly, but also the questions of Ataya. It is just to easy only to complain, or demand change in this forum. It is just jester’s license, what we are using here.

  23. Erroll said on February 23rd, 2009 at 1:01pm #

    If only the corporate airwaves had the courage to show this honest portrayal of the former [alleged] antiwar candidate.

    http://www.darianworden.com/pics/votedemocrat.jpg

  24. Gary Corseri said on February 23rd, 2009 at 1:20pm #

    Dear Mr. and Ms. Commentator:

    Are some of you not inclined to kill the messenger?

    I’ve had the good fortune to know Gareth Porter for the past couple of years. We are friends. He is an independent journalist who has developed his own “sources” within government, the military, international organizations; and he is respected by his peers in the U.S. and abroad. He has also verified his research, scholarly and journalistic credentials in his book, PERILS OF DOMINANCE, a study of the way crucial miscalculations about our strength vis a vis that of the “Communist world” led us step by inexorable step into the Big Muddy of Vietnam. Porter and I are both in our 60′s, and we’ve spent decades living through and digesting the offal of Vietnam and seeing how this American Empire, like so many empires before it, keeps making the same mistakes and generating the same miseries.

    Porter’s work is relatively new to the pages of Dissident Voice. I am glad to find his work here. It is not his “brief” to offer his own opinions or editorialize upon the the facts he presents. He brings us information we will not find in the mainstream media. He gives us breathing room to formulate our own opinions. He “arms” us with facts so that we can disarm our critics!

    Sometimes you’ve got to hold fire until the smoke clears. When the Left sits down for a discussion circle, it too often happens that they start shooting at each other or start a circle jerk. Either way, valuable energy is lost. So, let’s hold fire, gather the facts, and focus our passions wisely, where they will do most good.

  25. Hue Longer said on February 23rd, 2009 at 2:34pm #

    Hello Gary,

    The man portrayed Obama’s supposed move as a victory if not a brave and principled stance. Maybe those who didn’t vote for him don’t need to find a reason for legitimizing that vote?

    That lesser evilism sure is a slippery slope…before you know it, changing the white house toilet paper to recycled against Emanuel’s wishes will be heralded as a victory by all those who voted for him.

  26. MrCynic3 said on February 23rd, 2009 at 4:53pm #

    I agree with Eddie 100%. There is a chorus of editorials and articles
    starting to hit the pages about how Obama is standing against the
    the military brass and Wall St. This an organized campaign of PR
    bullshitting and make-belief mumbo-jumbo without any real substance.

  27. Max Shields said on February 23rd, 2009 at 5:23pm #

    One needs to be critical when the reporter in question has built his rep on the last admin and is using it to make a case for the current on. Mr. Porter’s previous work does not give him a license for his repeated statements on behalf of Obama and most recently with this “nixing” or supposed push back narrative. It is not that Obama may or may not be slowing the war machine down a tad (that remains to be seen), but while he’s doing that drones are killing civilians and chilren; drones under Obama’s command and 17,000 new troops are being deployed with his go-a-head.

    Mr. Porter has been a tad too vigilant in his “evidence” to show an Obama that is attempting to be prudent when we see a different picture unfolding.

    It is not just the particulars and Porter’s sources but the repetition of the message that has been packaged on different sites (and not the same column as much as the message itself) on the part of Porter. One can be meticulous with details while getting the picture and the reason for it all wrong – harking back to Woodward (his creds with Watergate allowed him all kinds of Bush narrative crap).

    Bush and Cheney were easy targets. Obama is a test of exactly, where one stands with regard to propaganda when it comes from the Dems vs the flipside. And so far, Porter is just to heavy on pushing the Obama agenda, here and elsewhere.

    Porter and his “insider” info needs to be scutinized. We’ve seen this film before, I’m afraid – ala Miller/NYT.

  28. Monkismo said on February 23rd, 2009 at 9:49pm #

    Maybe I’m mis-remembering, but it was my understanding that under Bush, the military brass were being made out as the voices of reason; now we see them revealed as quite happy to continue the same policies viz-a-viz Afghanistan that were blamed on Bush/Cheney previously.

    Do we really expect men who’ve made their careers in the military to now criticize the use of military power?

    And with due respect and sympathy for the young people who join the military “to secure some food and shelter with the hope of minimal exposure to danger,” I think it should be pointed out that they’ve literally committed themselves to killing to perpetuate a system that denied them food, shelter, health care or an education unless they gave up their freedom and agreed to do its dirty work. If we continue to accept “just doing my job,” “just doing my duty,” “just following orders,” “just trying to provide for my family,” and “doing God’s will” as excuses for atrocities and oppression, there is NO hope for a change in direction for this society.

  29. Erroll said on February 24th, 2009 at 7:52am #

    Monkismo

    Very well said. All the more reason for those in the military today to emulate the example of their predecessors some thirty five to forty years ago by participating in the GI rebellion and tell the military and Obama that they will not be part of an organization that is illegally and unjustly occupying Iraq and Afghanistan as well as raining down drone missiles on innocent Pakistani civilians.

    American soldiers-resist the American empire.

  30. Martha said on February 24th, 2009 at 9:56am #

    Gary C, maybe people would take Mr. Porter more seriously if he wasn’t doing flame e-mails to people who leave comments? Eddie forwarded me the nonsense Porter wrote him over Eddie’s comment above. My question is why DV posters e-mails are in effect “published”?

  31. Tree said on February 24th, 2009 at 10:09am #

    Gareth Porter and his friends seem a bit too sensitive, they need thicker skins. Who cares who Gareth Porter is friends with or what they think of his writing?

  32. Ramsefall said on February 24th, 2009 at 3:32pm #

    “…Obama asked the Joint Chiefs, “What is the end game?” in Afghanistan, and was told, “Frankly, we don’t have one,” according to a Feb. 4 report by NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski.’

    The Joint Chiefs are liars! The Joint Chiefs are liars!

    They know exactly what the end game is, maintain US-backed conflicts through the M.E. and as much of the world as possible for as long as they can. These guys were trained for the job of war, even if you have to create it to stay in business. Their bombers, fighters, tanks, radioactive ammunition, laser sightings, dumb bombs, cluster bombs and cluster f**ks were all designed in order to be used. Christ all mighty, it’s about the only export the US has left, aside from spreading economic viruses around the planet.

    Now that they’ve been revealed, what in the name of sweet baby Jesus shall we ever do?!

  33. bozh said on February 24th, 2009 at 4:14pm #

    ramsefall,
    your right, the planners know the plan and the goals but they haven’t divulged it to the lower classes.
    the middle class and pious people almost always agree with the gov’t and if gov’t errs or does not accomplish the ‘mission’, these people accept that as honest mistakes/failures in defence of liberties.
    as long as their children are not dying or their bussiness suffering it makes no difference what any gov’t does.

    and only their gov’t makes mistakes. the enemy gov’ts never make mistakes; all of their misdeeds are terrorist or criminal.
    thnx

  34. Max Shields said on February 24th, 2009 at 7:50pm #

    Gareth Porter,
    I finally figured it out. The Pentagon could not give Obama a good reason for 30,000, so O nixed it and then said, look fellas, I’ll split the difference here’s 17,000 lives to play with while you figure it out. If you come up with something I’ll give the rest. If the first 17,000 perish, then we’ll obviously need to replace them.

    What guy this Obama. You can’t get anything thing past this ol’ boy. Loved to get him in a game of poker. What a putz.

  35. Ramsefall said on February 25th, 2009 at 9:29am #

    Max,

    looks like you got it right again, the Captain of the Change Gang is only temporarily splitting the difference with the generals’ request. As you state, if they come up with something, anything that can pose as a viable justification, they’ll be awarded with their full buildup request.

    It’s important that Captain Obama maintains a reasonable level of acceptability with the public who may already be growing suspicious of their new corporate representative’s motives.

    The foul odor of no change, same old, same old peopleless politics, may be enough to wake the public from their hypnotic slumber.

    ¡Hail to the Putz of ifs and butts!

    Best to you, Mr. Shields.