Interesting article at Politico about Obama’s frayed relationship with military leaders, which friction began during the 2009 debate on troop levels in Afghanistan. This scenario sounds like the same kind of arrogance and lack of experience that led to the ongoing Obamacare s**tshow:
“The [military’s] general stance is, ‘We can do this, but we want you to acknowledge the mess, cost and complexity,” says a former senior Pentagon official. To many in the military, McChrystal’s 2009 troop recommendations fell victim to a White House unwilling to acknowledge any of those things. “There’s a sense that the White House wants contradictory, impossible things … but won’t resource them,” a congressional staffer with previous military experience told me.
Indeed, most of the military leaders I interviewed said they believed that military recommendations often go unheeded by senior White House staff, who now assume that a risk-averse Pentagon exaggerates every difficulty and inflates every request for troops or money.
This assumption turns discussions into antagonistic negotiating sessions. As one retired general puts it, “If you said, ‘We need 40,000 troops,’ they’d immediately say, ‘20,000.’ Not because they thought that was the right number, but they just took it for granted that any number coming from the military was inflated.”
“Sometimes you want to tell them, ‘This isn’t a political bargaining process,’” another retired senior military official says ruefully. “Where the military comes in high, they counter low, and we settle on an option that splits the difference. Needless to say, the right answer is not always in the middle.”
A former White House official with Pentagon experience says White House staff often remain willfully uninformed about the logic behind military recommendations: They “don’t want to take the time to go through the slide deck or get the full briefing. Basically, they don’t want to know.”