President Donald Trump is reportedly very upset about the situation in Afghanistan — particularly the fact that the United States is “losing” the conflict that has been raging there for the past 15 years.
Considering that Trump has no military experience and dodged the draft on five different occasions, it would be absurd to think he would understand the complexities of war or how the U.S. forces cannot put a sudden end to it just because the commander-in-chief wants to be a winner.
During a tense meeting on the subject recently held at the White House, the president complained about NATO allies, wondered aloud if the U.S. could get a hold of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth and repeatedly insisted to fire the military leadership serving there. Trump also reportedly suggested Defense Secretary James Mattis remove Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, from his post.
“We aren't winning,” senior officials cited Trump as saying, according to the NBC News. “We are losing.”
He then tried to explain his decision by sharing a bizarre anecdote with the experts and advisers who had convened to discuss military strategy in Afghanistan.
“Trump told his advisers that the restaurant, Manhattan's elite '21' Club, had shut its doors for a year and hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation. After a year, Trump said, the consultant's only suggestion was that the restaurant needed a bigger kitchen,” the NBC reported. “Officials said Trump kept stressing the idea that lousy advice cost the owner a year of lost business and that talking to the restaurant's waiters instead might have yielded a better result. He also said the tendency is to assume if someone isn't a three-star general he doesn't know what he's talking about, and that in his own experience in business talking to low-ranking workers has gotten him better outcomes.”
Apparently, the president was trying to draw a comparison that sometimes the experts, who cost more and are much more experienced, don’t make the right decisions, whereas people on the lower level who don’t have the direct say in the situation might be able to solve the problem.
Well, it does not matter what the moral of his story was, but suffice to say that anecdote wasn’t meant to be shared at such an important meeting — after all, war is nothing like eating an upper-class Manhattan restaurant, but Trump wouldn’t know the difference, would he?
Tragically, it also proves Trump’s administration has no strategy for Afghanistan.
To be clear, Trump is comparing the 16 year old war in Afghanistan (which fought off the soviets) to a restaurant remodeling in NYC. WTF?!?— Ahmed Shihab-Eldin (@ASE) August 3, 2017
Trump wants to fire a general he never met, thinks Afghanistan is the same as a Manhattan restaurant. Not the Onion https://t.co/YRAmZNNRBH— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) August 3, 2017
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst