Friday, November 27, 2009

To Paraphrase Jerry Ford: Obama's A McClellan, Not A Lincoln

(h/t Instapundit)

"On the Charlie Rose Show, presidential biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin said President Obama mustn't be rushed to make a decision. After all, she noted, Lincoln waited until the right time to make the Emancipation Proclamation. I'm curious how a Pulitzer-Prize winning historian who has written a fantastic book on Lincoln's political genius would make such a poor analogy -- not merely because of the incongruity of the conflicts, but because it's a tragic example of dithering that cost lives.

The Emancipation Proclamation did indeed require good timing, thus it followed on the heels of the victory of the Battle of Antietam. But Lincoln had already set his mind on freeing the slaves -- the wording and political support merely needed to be solidified. He already knew of his strategy. The person who was causing the delay was in fact General George B. McClellan, whose willingness to delay action and refusal to do so allowed enemy forces to prepare and react.  McClellan's, shall we call it, dithering, caused Antietam to become the bloodiest day of the Civil War, in fact, the single bloodiest day in American military history."

"General McChrystal told the president that the war could be lost in a year, and three months of that year have been given to the enemy to regroup and prepare. War, as it happens, is a zero-sum game in which waiting does, in fact, cost lives. This isn't a mere political football. If you have a general who is competent, as McChrystal is, give him what he says he needs to win."

The analogy is apt:  Obama is McClellan, not Lincoln.  But as we await his decision, let's pray that Obama at least realizes that in General McChrystal, the US has already found its Grant.

Read it all here.

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