Wednesday, June 23, 2010


'Afghan War Is Lost and US Govt Has To Face It'

Submitted by Chip
Wed, 2010-06-23 06:13

U.S. taxpayer dollars are finding their way to the pockets of the Taliban, according to a new 75-page congressional report about the military's use of Afghan security firms. The firms are used to ensure the safe passage of supply convoys. If the U.S. doesn't pay up, almost without fail the convoy gets attacked. Brian Becker, Director of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition says Afghanistan case is hopeless.

Obama's real McChrystal problem: Afghanistan plan in trouble

Updated: 6/22/10 9:43 PM EDT

The challenge facing Obama in responding to Gen. Stanley McChrystal has an obvious parallel in Harry Truman’s firing of Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s MacArthur moment was more than an embarrassment for the White House — it was a reminder of just how badly Barack Obama’s “good war” in Afghanistan is going.

The challenge facing Obama in responding to his loose-lipped Afghanistan commander has an obvious parallel in Harry Truman’s firing of Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

But it might actually be more comparable to another, more chronic presidential leadership crisis: Abraham Lincoln’s dilemma during the Civil War, when he was forced to repeatedly reshuffle his general staff in the face of vacillating public opinion, insubordination and, above all else, uncertainty about how best to win a bloody war he couldn’t afford to lose.

“Afghanistan is a mess, and it’s getting worse. To make matters worse, the president’s been dealing with internal squabbling on this for some time,” says Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, who has written extensively on Afghanistan.

“If there’s a bright side to all this, it’s that the president has an opportunity to reattach himself to a new policy, fire this guy and start with something new,” Clemons said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to reset. But he can’t do anything until he fires McChrystal.”

The general has already apologized for comments attributed to him and his leadership team in a caustic Rolling Stone story, in which his aides reportedly portrayed the commander in chief as a disengaged dilettante and blasted Obama’s Afghanistan team as feckless. He’s been summoned back to Washington to face a furious president and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who could remove him from command, reprimand or demote him.

Obama on Tuesday said the comments in the article showed “poor judgment, but I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decision.”

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs clearly opened the door to Obama relieving the general of command, saying, “All options are on the table.”

But even if Obama sacks his Afghanistan commander, McChrystal’s comments have laid bare a nasty internal battle among members of Obama’s joint military-civilian Afghanistan team that is splintered by personality conflicts and divided over how to end the longest war in American history.

Underlying everything is a far bigger problem. Obama’s strategy of shifting the military’s focus — and 30,000 troops — from Iraq to Afghanistan hasn’t yet yielded a major breakthrough. And it’s not clear how many troops he will be able to pull out of the country by next July, his self-imposed deadline for commencing withdrawal.