[Guest post by DRJ]
There’s a war in Afghanistan and a war over Afghanistan, and the latter appears to be between the Defense Department and the White House. Exhibit “A” is from The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol who says Rahm Emanuel blindsided Defense Secretary Gates and the military on a Sunday talk show:
“Yesterday, in light of Rahm Emanuel’s comments on delaying the decision on troops for Afghanistan [until the elections are finalized and there is a credible Afghan government], I asked: “Are Sunday talk show declarations by Emanuel and political advisor David Axelrod an appropriate way to announce the considered judgment of the president at this stage of a long Cabinet-level review process? Or is Emanuel end-running the process? Do Secretaries Gates and Clinton agree with Emanuel? Were they consulted before Rahm popped off?”
I’ve now been told by an authoritative source close to Defense Secretary Robert Gates that he had no advance warning that Emanuel would be saying any such thing.”
A former government official adds some interesting context at Kristol’s link.
Now I understand why, in what appears to be a direct contradiction to statements made by Emanuel in his Sunday interview, Secretary Gates announced today that President Obama may have to make a decision on whether to send more US troops to Afghanistan before the outcome of disputed Afghan elections are fully resolved. Gates may be showing Emanuel that two can play the game of making national security policy in public. I hope Gates is playing a winning hand.