The past two months or so have not been exactly stellar for The One. His congress spent the summer being chased by angry town hall protesters wielding everything except torches and pitchforks to show they were less than enthused with the prospect of entrusting their healthcare futures to an administration that couldn’t even screen out 9/11 truthers and self proclaimed communists from the ever growing Czar staff.

The One thought he could defect his domestic difficulties with foreign policy victories in Europe and South America. First he stood tall in his defense of a justly ousted wanna-be Honduran dictator. Then he waved the white flag of appeasement at Russia and boldly deep sixed America’s missile defense program. The left applauded his acquiescence to their conventional wisdom. Those still able to remember 1939 began to feel a sense of déjà vu.

Meanwhile unemployment inched upward to 9.8%. Where was The One? Off to Copenhagen in hopes of sealing the deal for Chicago to hold the 2012 Summer Games. We all know how well that turned out.

While he was in Copenhagen – the land that gave birth to my marauding Viking ancestors – he somehow managed to carve out twenty-five minutes to meet with the man he appointed to oversee America’s operations in Afghanistan. This was the first time in some 70 days that the Commander in Chief had met or spoken with his battlefield commander.

Compare and contrast this communication style with the “other” president from Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, by many accounts, spent many a late night in the telegraph office pouring over dispatches from battlefields near and far. He also made several arduous and very inconvenient trips to the battlefield to meet with his commanders and discuss the best way to bring about victory. He took his duty to protect and defend the United States from all enemies – foreign and domestic – very seriously.

The jury is still out as to whether or not Barack Obama really wants to win the war in Afghanistan. In this day of modern telecommuincations, he can’t even pick up the phone and talk to his commander from the Big Chair in the Oval Office.

What was General Stanley McChrystal’s message to the Commander in Chief? Well, to put it bluntly, it wasn’t full of hope. Failure and indeed defeat – words no self respecting commander wants to utter – are very real possibilities unless more troops and resources are committed to the battlefield. Remember, General McChrystal was tapped by The One to oversee the Afghan war. He is not a holdover from the W years. Knowing this, one would assume The One has confidence in his General’s ability to make command decisions.

Well, The One’s White House has gotten its collective thong in a tightly wound knot over McChrystal’s blunt commentary. One official was quoted as saying:

People aren’t sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn’t seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly.

There you have it, folks. Heaven forbid you have someone who has been there, done that, has earned four stars and all the experience and respect that goes with them “speaking his mind too plainly”. Wars are not fought in Washington. Wars are fought on the battlefield by brave men like McChrystal. A sure way to lose Afghanistan is to let beltway types dictate battlefield strategy and tactics from Washington. I thought we’d learned that lesson in Vietnam. Maybe we didn’t.

Years ago, Colin Powell (who retired at the top of the military as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) published 18 Leadership principles which had guided him throughout his career. Number 16 states that:

The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise.

The One would do well to listen to his commander in the field and ignore the chattering talking heads of his rear echelon. This is an example of some of the hard choices which must be made in order to secure victory. It requires gravitas in order to do that which is right rather than that which is popular. Maybe that is why the last of Powell’s 18 principles is very simple:

Command is lonely.

I, for one, am afraid that Obama is wholly unprepared for this kind of loneliness.

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