Patterico's Pontifications

10/4/2009

Straight Talk About the War in Afghanistan?

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 6:27 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Eight U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan yesterday, bringing to 15 the number of Americans killed this month. But Obama’s National Security Adviser retired General James Jones had some reassuring words:

“I don’t foresee the return of the Taliban. Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling,” Jones said.

“The al-Qaida presence is very diminished,” he said. “The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies.”

Jones said he wouldn’t play politics with American lives or national security, but I’m puzzled by the contrary information in this Times of India report:

“NATO is battling to quell a deadly insurgency that is spreading across Afghanistan, nearly eight years after the hardline Islamist Taliban were ousted from power.

Eastern Afghanistan has seen an escalation in violence recently as Taliban-linked militias spread their footprint beyond their traditional southern powerbase.

The London-based International Council on Security and Development think-tank estimates the Taliban now has a permanent presence in 80 percent of Afghanistan.

Mariam Abou Zahab, from the Centre for International Studies and Research (CERI) in Paris, said: “The Taliban are in a strong position. They want to show that they are everywhere.”

It sounds like General McChrystal won’t be getting those extra troops but it’s not just the American commanders who are worried. The British Army commander is worried, too.

— DRJ

14 Responses to “Straight Talk About the War in Afghanistan?”

  1. Since the Far-Left of the Dem Party seems to genuflect to all things Euro, you would hope that they pay attention to the thoughts of General Sir David Richards.
    But, they won’t.

    AD - RtR/OS! (4702ac)

  2. It’s my understanding that the number of Americans killed yesterday in Afghanistan was 10 not 8. Two others died in a separate incident, i.e., eight died in one incident and two in the other. This reportedly was the largest number of Americans to die in a single day since 2001. The previous high reportedly was nine.

    Source: Breitbard.com news link. Darned if I can find the link now. :(

    JerryT (2b7ac2)

  3. My gosh did anyone else see the panel this morning on Fox News Sunday?

    Sen. Bob Casey D-PA spewed some of the most ridiculous delay-tactic gobbledegook for Obama’s (and the Democrats) disingenuousness on Afghanistan I’ve ever heard…..and while our troops are under siege:

    “BAIER: Senator Casey, Wednesday the president met in the national — with his national security team in the situation room with all the major players about this decision.

    Here’s what the Washington Post wrote about that meeting. “Vice President Biden offered some of the more pointed challenges to McChrystal, who attended the session by video link from Kabul. Biden has argued against increasing the number of U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan. He favors preserving the current force levels, stepping up Predator drone strikes on Al Qaida leaders and increasing training for afghan forces.”

    Now, Thursday at London’s Institute for Strategic Studies, General McChrystal was asked directly whether he thought limiting — a limited counterterrorism effort in Afghanistan would work. Here’s what he said.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    MCCHRYSTAL: The short, glib answer is no. You have to navigate from where you are, not from where you wish you were. A strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short- sighted strategy.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    BAIER: Senator Casey, what do you make of this very public rift between Vice President Biden and General McChrystal?

    CASEY: Well, first of all, I think it’s vastly overdramatized. If you read the stories about General McChrystal’s presentation, he talked about debate and deliberation. And despite what we’re hearing in Washington, to move in the next couple of days or the next two weeks, I think the president’s doing the right thing.

    He’s doing what General McChrystal recommended in terms of taking time to review this, and he’s doing what the American people would expect him to do as president. There’ll be debates within the administration. There’ll be debates in Congress. That’s a good thing.

    It shouldn’t be indefinite in terms of a time frame. But the best thing we should do — we cannot make the same mistakes that our government made in Iraq, and one of the mistakes we can’t make is putting the resource and troop question before the strategy question.

    We have to continue to debate, not just pointing a finger at the administration. The Congress has a role to play here, and the Senate. We’ve got to debate what the strategy should be and get that right before we talk about what the resources should be.

    And if it’s as simple as saying whatever General McChrystal wants in any format, I think we’re going to miss the boat. This is much more complicated than just reacting to a part of his recommendation.

    A lot of what General McChrystal has recommended involves the non-military aspects of this. And he understands how difficult it is to get a counterinsurgency strategy right. And a lot of that is non- military. I think we should thoroughly review his report and question him.

    But also, we need to question the strategy overall and make sure we get it right. It might be that we…

    BAIER: So, Senator Casey, let me ask you…

    CASEY: … that the Congress reaches a point on — that we recommend a more focused counterinsurgency strategy, or some will say just counterterrorism. But I think we need a full debate, not just a political debate, as we often had with regard to the war in Iraq.

    BAIER: All right, Senator Casey. So you think it’s possible, after the description of that meeting and this rift, if you will, that President Obama could possibly disregard the advice, the request of the general that he installed in Afghanistan, General McChrystal.

    CASEY: No, I don’t think he’s going to disregard any part of that report. I think he’s using that report as the foundation of a discussion about strategy.

    But that doesn’t mean there’s not going to be debate within the administration. Debate is good. But I don’t buy the idea that there’s some kind of rift between General McChrystal and parts of the administration.

    There will be debates, but it’s important that the Congress is as focused on strategy before resources as the administration is.”

    ————————-

    BAIER: This is what your colleague Senator John McCain said about how the administration is handling General McChrystal. Take a listen.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    MCCAIN: So it’s OK with the administration for General McChrystal to go on “60 Minutes.” It’s OK for him to give a speech at the Institute for Strategic Studies in London. But the administration does not want General McChrystal and General Petraeus before the Senate Armed Services Committee. How does that work?

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    BAIER: Senator Casey, how does that work? Do you share Senator McCain’s concerns, if not his passion, about General McChrystal briefing Congress?

    CASEY: Well, when I mentioned before that we need to have a debate in Congress, John’s one of the voices we should listen to, and take the measure of what — Lindsey Graham and John McCain and Joe Lieberman wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal recently.

    That’s part of what we should debate, what was the focus of their column in the Wall Street Journal, as well as other points of view.

    On the question of who should appear before the Armed Services Committee — I’m on the Foreign Relations Committee — or any committee, in time I think we’re going to have lots of opportunities to question General McChrystal, to question maybe other administration officials as well. There’s a whole long list.”

    Sorry for such a long post but Casey’s non-answers on such a vital issue involving an immediate threat to our troops just made my blood boil.

    harkin (f92f52)

  4. Jerry T,

    I think it was 8 American troops and 2 Afghan policemen.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  5. harkin,

    No apologies necessary in my opinion, FWIW.

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

  6. I would believe the Times of India. They were the first to challenge the “Good Taliban, Bad Taliban” concept when the Obama White House gave the OK to Pakistan sign the truce in Swat with the “good Taliban.”

    It was a miserable failure. There never was a cease fire as the “bad Taliban” expanded their territory and the good Taliban were helpless to stop them.

    The White house want’s to see no evil. They are blind to the fact the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are inextricatebly linked. A victory for them in Afghanistan would lead to a victory in Pakistan. And we can’t allow them to take over this nuclear armed country. We and other coalition members can fight in sparsely populated Afghanistan. We can’t in Pakistan for political and religious reasons. And it would be a death trap with 140 million Pakistanis to keep an eye on.

    Democrats have never understood the concept of winning a war. They see warfare as making a lot of noise and blowing things up. Victory is an anathema to them. They don’t understand that ovewhelming force wins wars, an even playing field leads to stalemate, and uselessly spilled Ameridcan blood.

    Corky Boyd (4e8f68)

  7. It’s infuriating, that answer, really attacks are up at a high tempo, you lead large numbers to sustain that, even if they’re not in Afghanistan
    proper, which is doubtful, the other side of the Durand line doesn’t reassure. Who’s the real counter insurgency specialist, the former commander of the 75th rangers or Brennan, or Jones, who hasn’t been on the battlefield for a better part of a decade.

    bishop (4e0dda)

  8. General Jones is mostly worried about Israel. He will make sure that Israel is to blame for everything bad that happens.

    Unofficial reports say the General was highly critical of Israel and disappointed his report was never published. Official reports say he achieved considerable success. Truth or diversion? That’s difficult to know in today’s violence marred, psy ops world. Clearly, Hamas chess pieces needed a strategy under General Jones’ charge.

    They are not going to give those Jews a moment to rest while they get Hamas ready to take over.

    General James Jones, Mr Obama’s National Security Adviser, is also said to have told a European foreign minister that — unlike the Bush Administration — the White House was now ready to be “forceful” with Israel.

    “The new Administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question,” General Jones was reported to have written in a confidential telegramme. “We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.” General Jones is due to travel to London next week for talks with British officials and Mr Netanyahu’s security adviser, Uzi Arad.

    President Ahmadinejad of Iran was today meeting the heads of ten hard-line Palestinian groups — including Hamas — on a visit to Syria, sending what one of the leaders said would be a message to the new right-wing Israeli Government.

    The Iranian leader arrived in the afternoon and went to the People’s Palace in Damascus, where he was given a red-carpet welcome by President Assad followed by a closed-door meeting.

    Those Jews are pretty slippery. They even got Ahmadinejad in charge of Iran.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  9. This administration really reminds me of the Viet Nam era administrations. They seem determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Duke Nukem (d9d8ce)

  10. Yes, it is the same as Vietnam, where the politicians ran the war from Washington, telling our air assets what we could and could not strike. Now, with another liberal administration, history repeats itself. War is a nasty business. You undertake the mission to win, not balance your political viability.

    Meanwhile, we have a health care “reform” measure that must be passed immediately, immediately, they say, because it is so urgent. Yet the military strategy must be “studied”, “debated”, and “considered” while our servicemen and women pay the price. By all means, “get the strategy right”, but let us also get the priorities right. Either send the troops necessary to achieve success, or pull our people out and suffer the consequences.

    Being the CIC is no job for the weak-kneed. Mr. Obama wanted this job…it’s time to step up to the plate.

    navyvet (c7f520)

  11. “The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country”

    The 8 US soldiers were killed when they were attacked in a coordinated effort by and estimated 300 Taliban.

    Neo (7830e6)

  12. Ah, but those were Taliban, not al-Qaida, of which there is only 100, and who are so demoralized, that they quake in their sandals whilst hiding in caves.

    Poor PA, to have both Casey and Specter as Senators. Something about getting the government you deserve, I guess.

    AD - RtR/OS! (4702ac)

  13. “We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.”

    The very fact he even raises the idea of throwing something or someone under the bus reminds me of the bigot, before saying he’d prefer the new family next door be Caucasian, announcing that “some of my best friends are black.”

    Since the pathetic, crackpot administration now occupying the White House has been ass-backwards about Venezula/Cuba and Honduras, it’s only a matter of time that a similar form of ass-backwardness become glaringly obvious when it comes to Palestine/Islamic-Middle-East and Israel.

    And I’m not even raising the issue of Iran.

    God help us.

    Mark (411533)

  14. I’m reading Steven Hayward’s Age of Reagan, the first volume which begins with LBJ. I’m currently reading the section on early Vietnam and he makes the point that Johnson was not really that interested in foreign policy. He wanted to focus on domestic events and to surpass FDR in social legislation. Vietnam was a distraction. Also, McNamara and his whiz kids disdained the generals and ran the Vietnam war from Washington.

    Does that sound familiar ?

    I just read the section on the Watts riot in 1965. I remember it well. Johnson’s War on Poverty got taken over by Saul Alinsky and his radicals. They used the CAP program, which was supposed to empower poor people, to fund left wing radicals. The money in the block grants all went to salaries of radicals.

    Sound familiar ?

    Somebody said history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Which are we experiencing now ?

    Mike K (2cf494)


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