continuing in Afghanistan…

Earlier this week, I’d read a Washington Post article on the Obama administration’s latest Afghan/ Pakistani war efforts. By now many of you are already up-to-date on this, I imagine, but I feel almost compelled to put in my two-cents worth, anyway.

We have since seen our President on television, announcing the ‘simple, clear and concise goal’, to “disrupt, dismantle and eventually destroy al-Qaeda…”, as was declared in the Post article. Bill Kristol stated, on Fox News Sunday, that President Obama actually overruled opposition from his administration concerning recent war strategy decisions. Kristol says that Obama is ‘all-out’ to win. Which is the very impression I’ve been getting lately. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told us this morning, on FNS, that Obama has approved all his requests for additional troops, and that the President is committed to this war effort. While our plans will need flexibility according to developing conditions, and a re-evaluation in about a year, until al-Qaeda is defeated and there is no longer any danger to the United States, US presence will remain in this very critical area of the Middle East, according to Gates.

Same war, slightly different locale…

The deployment of some 4,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan, scheduled for early fall, will provide the resources necessary to train and mentor the existing Afghan forces, expected to double over the next two to three years. Pursuant to this training mission, members of what has been called ‘the nation’s shock force’, the US Army’s 82nd. Airborne Division, are being included in this upcoming deployment, to serve as advisers in lieu of the less experienced, currently utilized National Guardsmen. A quicker, more aggressive approach is the order of the day, it seems. While committed to fight the good fight, still, equipping the Afghans to ultimately fight their own war is far preferable to us fighting it for them indefinitely, and the ‘ultimate exit strategy’ for US and NATO forces, according to one administration official.

In what I see as a stroke of genius, and a move which Senator John McCain calls ‘smart’ on today’s Meet the Press, attempts to draw low-level Taliban fighters into conciliatory meetings with the Afghan government will be a part of our new administration’s battle strategy. Suspected fractures within the Taliban movement may make it possible to ‘break the{ir} momentum’ this fighting season. According to the director of national intelligence Dennis Blair, as many as two-thirds of the insurgent fighters could possible be swayed, drawn away from the battle, by the addressing of their local concerns, such as clean water supply, or educational provisions.


“There’s no doubt this president has as great a challenges as any president ever has in the history of this country, certainly amongst the top three or four.”Senator John McCain

“The best way to get out of Afghanistan fast is people to think we’re staying.”Senator John McCain


“The situation is increasingly perilous. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al-Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged, that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” – President Barack Obama


A word of caution from Andrew Sullivan, senior editor, The Atlantic, caught my attention. While Afghan tactics and strategies were being discussed, on ‘The Chris Matthews Show’, Mr. Sullivan pointed out that while these maneuvers are underway, many are assuming the stability of Iraq. But he warns us that Iraq is not yet stable. Now that the focus is shifted from that Bush hot spot, it seems we all are letting it fade from the forefront of our thinking, as if things are settled there. I very much appreciated Sullivan’s re-directing of attention to the Iraqi reality.


One final thought for the day – in reaction to Hillary Clinton’s placing of US blame for much of the Mexican drug cartel violence, and accusations of impropriety on her part, not following ‘protocol’, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, applauding her honesty, had this to say:

” Protocol, shmotocol !”

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