HE WILL SPEAK TO US, WE AWAIT HIM - AT 8:53 A.M. ET: Almost four months after getting Gen. McChrystal's recommendation on troop strength in Afghanistan, President Obama is apparently ready to reveal the depths of his thoughts on the matter, as The New York Times reports:
President Obama has conducted a final meeting on his military review for Afghanistan, administration officials said, and he is planning to explain his decision in an address to the nation next Tuesday.
“After completing a rigorous final meeting, President Obama has the information he wants and needs to make his decision and he will announce that decision within days,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday morning.
Now wait a second, wait a second. It appears from Gibbs's statement that he hasn't actually made the decision, just that he realizes he needs to make a decision. But if he hasn't made it, how does he know he can reveal it next Tuesday?
Are you seeing smoke and mirrors? At least the smoke.
And I love Gibbs's reference to a "rigorous" final meeting. Is this in contrast to non-rigorous meetings? Chit-chats? Increasingly, the language of this administration sounds like high school.
The president’s military and national security advisers came back to the president with answers he had requested during previous meetings, most of which focusing on these questions: Where are the off-ramps for the military? And what is the exit strategy?
How about: What is our objective and how can we achieve it?
And how can the American people be made more safe?
And the beat goes on:
Mr. Obama did not announce his specific decision to his advisers. He is scheduled to stay at the White House over the Thanksgiving holiday to finish making his decision, as the White House plans to prepare for what could be Mr. Obama’s first prime-time address to the nation from the Oval Office.
"Finish" making his decision? So finishing making the decision is a scheduled event? Do you get the feeling of amateurism here? When have you ever said, "Well, I'll start making the decision on Wednesday, finish making it on Thursday, after dinner"?
Oh, wait. A possible change:
But the venue of the announcement has not been finalized. While an Oval Office address fits the gravity of the moment, one official said Tuesday that a full-length speech – rather than a short message, delivered as the president sits behind a desk – is a more likely way for Mr. Obama to explain one of the most important decisions yet in his presidency.
No, this isn't an academic lecture or a classroom discussion. The president sitting behind the desk in our Oval Office is just right.
As the White House prepares for how the president will explain his decision to the nation, the president is trying to allay deep concerns inside his own party.
Translated into English: He's got to satisfy the wing of his party that likes to visit Fidel Castro and get flu shots in Cuba.
Oh wait, another possible change:
The White House is preparing for the president’s announcement to take place next Tuesday evening, aides said, which would likely be followed by hearings in the House and Senate. But the date could be changed, one official said, depending on briefings with Congress and allied leaders.
And this depressing thought:
While the president is expected by several of his advisers to announce sending more than 20,000 new troops – perhaps closer to the 40,000, as recommended by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal – the White House is working to make the announcement more than simply a number of troops. It will include an outline of an exit strategy, officials said.
Hey, a little something for everyone. Send the troops, and prepare to get them out.
This passes for strategy.
How would you like to have a son or daughter serving in Afghanistan under this president?
November 24, 2009