President Obama met with General Stanley McChystal today for twenty five minutes. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says that McChrystal and the President agree that Obama’s waffling on his previous commitments to the War in Afghanistan is ok and that they both agree that a drawn out decision process ( read: reversal of previous policy) will help troop morale. Ok, so Gibbs didn’t say exactly that. Here’s what the CBS Cheerleaders said happened:
The White House says that President Barack Obama’s meeting with his top commander in Afghanistan was very helpful to his review of war strategy.
Obama and Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal met for 25 minutes aboard his plane before he departed Copenhagen to return to Washington. Obama was in the Danish capital to pitch Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic games, and McChrystal was summonded there from London, where he gave a speech on Thursday.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters on the plane that Obama and McChrystal agreed that the president’s drawn-out review of the war “is a helpful process.”
Let’s dial down the credulity necessary to take this statement at face value and examine it for what it is: an admission of failure by the Obama administration of its handling of its own Afghanistan policy.
Obama needed a photo op with the General so that he could mitigate the damage from McChrystal’s interview last week with 60 Minutes, in which it was revealed that the President wasn’t even talking to his own hand picked theatre commander in Afghanistan.
Does anyone believe that a meeting between the President of the United States and one of his Generals would result in anything but an agreement between the two? That the president’s press flack has to even make this point is an indicator of how weak this administration perceives itself with its own military. Said another way, the Obama administration knows it is walking a thin line with our military. The lessons of Vietnam still resonate with voters and the waffling by this president is done at great risk. Today’s dog and pony show aboard Air Force One was telling proof of such.