When you decide and speechify first, and get input later, you sometimes run into problems. This interview with General Petraeus provides the first of many potentially embarrassing conflicts between Barack Obama’s politically motivated timetable plan and and the fact-driven objectives of the commanders on the ground. Notice how the assumption even among the MSM is that the surge has worked. Hearing Mitchell explain that it is not a good idea to give the enemy a fixed timetable is a welcome, albeit exceptionally tardy, acknowledgment of reality by the mainstream press.
So what does Obama say? Thanks but no thanks, General? What Andrea Mitchell didn’t ask in this interview was whether Petraeus agrees that Iraq is irrelevant to and a distraction from the “real” war on terror. Hopefully, someone will ask that question and, if the answer differs from Obama’s take, ask Obama why he is immune to input from those who have been dealing with the enemy.
And if that isn’t enough to make Obama squirm, the McCain team has a bon voyage present in the form of a tough new TV ad.
My main reaction: did Obama imagine he was going to force Petraeus and others from continuing to voice opinions utterly at odds with Obama’s political position? If so, it was a grave error.