Sunday, April 2, 2017

President Donald Trump has given the Pentagon more war fighting power.

President Donald Trump at an economic meeting. AP. 

President Donald Trump has given more authority and power to the Pentagon for the war against ISIS and al-Qaeda. AP. Compared to President Barack Obama's micromanagement style, Trump has given the Pentagon wide authority to fight both terror groups. For example, in Somalia, Trump has given local commanders authority to conduct offensive airstrikes against al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab terrorists. Trump has also shown to be much more willing to use troops in raids and deployments focused on these terrorist groups. These moves are a double edged sword. They allow commanders much quicker response time to threats or targets of opportunity, but carry with them the risk of civilian casualties. These changes in policy and the deployment of troops to both Syria and Iraq have largely been ignored by the media and public. 

My Comment:
I've talked about Donald Trump's management style before. Unlike the previous president, Trump is running his White House like a business president. Instead of making every descion himself and forbidding lower ranked people to make tough calls, he has a much more hands free approach. Instead of checking every single project and problem himself, he delegates and puts much more trust into his underlings. 

This approach has its pros and cons, the most obvious benefit being the increase in efficiency. The office of the President of the United States of America is a hugely complex and stressful job on it's own and trying to do it all yourself is just a waste. Letting your advisers and generals take care of the details while you hammer out the big picture is obviously appealing and there is a reason that many successful companies are run the same way. 

The obvious downside is the fact that you have to put a huge amount of trust in your subordinates. When lives are on the line you have to make sure that the guy you picked knows what he is doing and won't screw up badly. You really are putting your reputation in their hands and when they do screw up, you have to take care of the situation, either by giving them new instructions or by firing them and replacing them. 

In military situations I greatly prefer the "hands free" approach to warfare. It is a very foolish leader who doesn't listen to his generals and I think that Trump is smart enough to know that. I also think that in this case expert opinion means something. There is nobody more knowledgeable about war than the people tasked to fight it and I really think that it's best to let the generals fight. 

And it's not like Barack Obama did all that great with the micromanagement style. The risks that were played up by the AP report, specifically civilian casualties, certainly happened under Obama and all his micromanagement didn't result in zero civilian casualties, that's for sure. 

I have always thought that civilian casualties were an inevitable consequence of war anyways. Though some deaths are avoidable, they have to be balanced with the effect a successful strike will have on the war. I think part of the problem is a philosophical difference. I have always thought it would be ok to kill a terrorist plotting a major attack even if it means killing a few civilians if it prevents a major attack. I also think it's ok to do the same thing if the target is important enough to shorten the length of the war. It's almost always better to have a quick, brutal war as opposed to one that is dragged out for years and years. Not everyone agrees with that and there has always been a major debate between hawks and doves on the issue. Until now. 

The most amazing thing to me is how little attention this story is getting. Whatever you think on the issue, you should agree that it is important how the President is running our military and fighting our multiple wars. But other than this report and a few others, almost nothing can be found about this major change. At least not considering the importance of the issue. 

Why? Because the media and the Democratic Party are chasing their tail about the "Vast Russian Influence" conspiracy theory. I have always said that the story was a nothingburger for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that everyone in Washington has connections to Russia. Period. Prior to the last few of years of the Obama administration, our relationship with Russia was, if not cordial, simply not much of an issue. Remember, Mitt Romney got eviscerated in the 2012 debates by the media for saying that Russia was our greatest foe. He was wrong back then and is wrong now, but it's amazing to me how much play this stupid conspiracy theory is getting. 

Especially when the costs are so high. I am not anti-war by any means. I tend to take it on a case by case basis. For example, I opposed Obama's plan to attack Syria and topple Bashar al-Assad but I do support current troop deployments to Iraq and Syria. But I'm only able to have an opinion on Syria and Iraq today because I seek out stories on them and follow the wars closely. If I only relied on the top stories published these days since the inauguration, I wouldn't even know we had troops in Syria or Iraq right now for all the coverage it is getting. 

That being the case, I think the media is doing a real disservice by not covering our foreign policy moves in Syria and Iraq. They are also ignoring the way Trump is delegating everything in the name of efficiency, with the possible cost of civilian casualties. Though I support the President's efforts, that might not be the case for every American and right now they only have limited means to hear about the conflicts and decisions our President is making. And I think the media should be ashamed of themselves for not doing their job and covering the stories that are actually important...  

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