15 May 2009

Elemental Strategy

Is Barack Obama afraid of his generals?

If so, he wouldn't be the first US President to be overly beholden to the Pentagon. But what's going on?

Tom Ricks:

I am told that General Odierno's objections to the timing of the release of a new round of photos of detainees being abused in Iraq were decisive to President Obama's decision Wednesday to reverse himself and decide against the release of those photos...

...[Obama] must think he is running up some pretty big chits with them [the Pentagon]. I know he is trying to do the right thing but at some point he is going to have to say, My way or the highway.

Because I'm an eternal optimist, I'll suggest that major nuclear disarmament and a repeal of DADT are two of the policies Obama is building up Pentagon good will for.

But as Ricks points out, at some point you stop looking savvy in the eyes of your supporters, and just start looking weak. Or worse, lame - when you're losing John Stewart, you're losing.

UPDATE: The more I think about it, the more I find myseslf agreeing with Andrew Sullivan that the appointment of Stanley McChrystal as the commander of US forces in Afghanistan is a major reason that the Obama administration is delaying release of the detainee photographs. And that's a very bad.

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