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Hope?

Posted by Derrick Crowe on November 11th, 2009

Note: Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New FoundationThe Seminal. Learn how the war in Afghanistan undermines U.S. security: watch Rethink Afghanistan (Part Six), & visit http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog.

Two very hopeful stories broke this evening that show that the non-escalation factions in the Obama Administration can play the leaking game, too.

First, we have this Washington Post piece that describes Ambassador Eikenberry’s strong warnings to the president about adding more troops in Afghanistan before Karzai cleans up his act (ha ha ha ho ho hee hee hee hum):

The U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington in the past week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai’s government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban’s rise, senior U.S. officials said.

…Eikenberry has expressed deep reservations about Karzai’s erratic behavior and corruption within his government, said U.S. officials familiar with the cables. Since Karzai was officially declared reelected last week, U.S. diplomats have seen little sign that the Afghan president plans to address the problems they have raised repeatedly with him.

U.S. officials were particularly irritated by a interview this week in which a defiant Karzai said that the West has little interest in Afghanistan and that its troops are there only for self-serving reasons.

…Eikenberry also has expressed frustration with the relative paucity of funds set aside for spending on development and reconstruction this year in Afghanistan, a country wrecked by three decades of war. …The ambassador also has worried that sending tens of thousands of additional American troops would increase the Afghan government’s dependence on U.S. support at a time when its own security forces should be taking on more responsibility for fighting.

BBC’s reports that Eikenberry said more troops was “not a good idea.”

Eikenberry’s no peacenik. He was a lieutenant-general in charge of training the Afghan army before Obama tapped him to be the U.S. ambassador. Technically a U.S. ambassador is the head honcho for the United States in a given country. If the ex-military ambassador says we should think twice about sending more troops into his country of responsibility, you better take it seriously.

Next, we have this hopeful AP article that asserts that the president is choosing, “none of the above,” as his option in the multiple choices presented to him by the Pentagon:

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

I wonder if this strange feeling in my gut is this “hope” thing I keep hearing so much about.

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to “Hope?”

  1. [...] Hope? By Derrick Crowe 2009 November 11 by kanan48 Via: Rethink Afghanistan. [...]

  2. Scott says:

    Unless we develop a comprehensive South Asia strategy, the most we can hope for is a temporary peace in Afghanistan.

    What would such a strategy look like? Well, at the very least it requires some moderation of the strategic competition between India and Pakistan. Without attention to this aspect of the problem, we really are only playing around at the edges of the conflict.

    For more, there's a good piece here: http://bit.ly/3vYHPk

  3. Ted Quackenbush says:

    President Obama,

    I voted for you, but now I want to express my disappointment in your decision to send more US troops into Afghanistan. We're hearing the same empty rhetoric “hearts and minds” from the military that we heard 45 years ago. As a 19 year old Marine serving in Vietnam during 1968-69, I acquired the following knowledge.

    We can’t win a war in a country that has thousands of years of cultural infrastructure and centuries of tribal conflict. Introduce fanatical religious in-fighting into the mix and it's more convoluted than Vietnam. We can send 2 million troops and it won’t make a difference. We’ll eventually leave and it will start again.

    Please bring the troops home now before you get to this point:
    “With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office–the Presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.” Lyndon Baines Johnson 1968

    Semper Fi.

    Ted Quackenbush

  4. catomb says:

    Viet Nam was a civil war. I'm a vet, July '67 to July '68. The people of North and South Viet Nam wanted the country united. Afghanistan is an insurgency of religious fanatics that could threaten the region and the world. I don't know whether to stay or go home but whichever it is, I support the decisions made by the President and his military advisers until there is overwhelming evidence to make it obvious which way to go.

  5. catomb says:

    Viet Nam was a civil war. I'm a vet, July '67 to July '68. The people of North and South Viet Nam wanted the country united. Afghanistan is an insurgency of religious fanatics that could threaten the region and the world. I don't know whether to stay or go home but whichever it is, I support the decisions made by the President and his military advisers until there is overwhelming evidence to make it obvious which way to go.

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