Minor FSO Resigns, Panic Ensues
An incredibly junior foreign service officer has resigned over disagreement with our AfPak policy, prompting a high level scramble within the administration and a long feature in the Washington Post.
As I wrote in “While Obama Dithers,” a piece for New Atlanticist,
They’ve brought this on themselves. Granted, President Obama inherited this war and his people may have fought it differently had they been in charge during the first seven years. (An unlikely counterfactual, to be sure, since he was an unknown state senator at the time.) But it’s a fight he clamored for during the campaign, stressing it as “a war of necessity.” And he doubled down almost immediately, sending more troops and firing a well-respected four star commander to replace him with a counterinsurgency guru. But now he’s dithering, signaling in the press that he’s lost confidence in the strategy and can’t make up his mind as to what to do now.
Yes, it’s complicated. There are a lot of unknowns and the number of American casualties is escalating. But those men are dying while their commander-in-chief hems and haws, trying to decide whether to heed the expert advice of the general he hand-picked three months ago, do a 180 and go with a counter-terror strategy as preferred by Vice President Biden, or some politically expedient middle course. Their public indecisiveness certainly isn’t doing much to bolster the resolve of the Matthew Kohs of the world, much less the young soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines being asked to risk their lives while they wait.
Much more at the link.
UPDATE II: Kevin Drum shares my sense that this story is rather odd.
Hoh “already had a lot of frustration” after two months? And he quit two months after that? Unless Hoh is the fastest learner on the planet, that really doesn’t seem like enough time to get very far up the learning curve.
Otherwise, like me, he thinks Koh’s analysis has substantial merit.