1. A Republican congressman, Howard McKeon, from CA, his party's top member of the House Armed Services Committee, claims that Defense Secretary Gates told him that Obama asked Generals McChrystal and Petraeus to "scrub" their assessments of goings on in Afghanistan, to make matters on the ground there appear better than they are so as not to force the president to send troops to a place he reportedly does not want to be involved in in the first place.
2. Now, you may claim Mr McKeon is lying or distorting, and I am in no position to argue with you.
3. However, were Obama to whisper such a plea to clean up on paper the complicated, corpse-strewn happenings in the palaestra over there, it would be completely in keeping with his compromising character.
4. Remember, this is a president who SAT on General McChrystal's drearily realistic report for 3 weeks before going on FIVE Sunday talks a week ago to assert repeatedly that he had NOT been asked for more troops, that he was AWAITING a top-to-bottom review which someone, for unknown motive, leaked to The Washington Post's Bob Woodward the next day, September 21.
McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure'
5. Obama is also the chair of the UN's Security Council who on Thursday pushed thru a unanimous resolution calling for a prettified planet purged of post-modern weapons, all the while knowing the next day he was going to have to go public with Ahmedinejad's underground CONTRADICTION of the president's impractical, utopian position.
6. Whether McKeon is right or wrong, there's little doubt the president does NOT want to be in Afghanistan, nor does most of his party, he's there only because he made this "right war" so central to his campaign, and he pushed so hard on that point in particular only to convince the electorate he was not your traditional anti-military, blame-America-first liberal.
7. Kudo's to McChrystal for following his "duty-bound" conscience and reporting to the president the recalcitrant reality in the Mountains on the Moon, Afghanistan, even if they aren't as pleasant as the president might prefer.
8. Afghanistan is a sure loser, NO WIN, and the prez is glued to it.
9. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell denied McKeon's claim: "I do not believe that the secretary would make statements to anyone, including Congressman McKeon, indicating that President Obama was disinclined to send additional troops to Afghanistan."
10. In his next sentence, however, the PR point man indicated Gates, not Obama, was the requester of a squeaky clean assessment: "Furthermore, Gates, not President Obama, told General McChrystal to "scrub" his forces to make sure that all of them were being used in the most efficient manner, Morrell added," according to FP's report.
As the Obama administration wrestles with how to deal with the worsening military and political situation in Afghanistan and the worsening level of public support for the war at home, new details are emerging about how the president is thinking about his decision on whether to send more U.S. troops to the region.
According to Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-CA, the new top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Obama told Central Command head Gen. David Petraeus and Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal to "scrub" their assessments because he "wasn't inclined to send troops over there."
If McKeon's claim is true, Obama's instructions, relayed to McKeon through Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, show how resistant the president is to doubling down on the war in Afghanistan and how Republicans are prepared to take their push for an increased commitment of resources to the public.