Thursday, November 12, 2009

Change in the Air?

There have been scores of anonymously-sourced reports alleging one thing or another about President Obama's next step with respect to the future of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. I may be completely wrong but it seems to me as if the President is finally beginning to realize that he is in a 'no win' situation and that the old axiom that says "Afghanistan is where empires go to die" is the hard truth and throwing more American blood and treasure onto the sands there is not the answer. Couple this with the latest 'leaked' cable from Ret. Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, who has put in writing his "reservations about deploying additional troops to the country." Eikenberry is not just some diplomatic functionary, he was recently the top American military commander in the country and his concern lends credence to the this AP report suggesting that the president has been presented with a series of options, none of which he finds compelling.

President Barack Obama won't accept any of the Afghanistan war options before him without changes, a senior administration official said, as concerns soar over the ability of the Afghan government to secure its own country one day. [...]

He remains close to announcing his revamped war strategy -- troops are just one component -- and probably will do so shortly after he returns from a trip to Asia that ends Nov. 19.

Yet in Wednesday's pivotal war council meeting, Obama wasn't satisfied with any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, one official said.

The president instead pushed for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government. In turn, that could change the dynamic of both how many additional troops are sent to Afghanistan and what the timeline would be for their presence in the war zone, according to the official.

The DoD is trying to push the president into escalating the U.S. presence with help from Clinton, Gates and others. President Obama seems to realize that he is being rushed and he is pushing back and that is a good thing. Somewhere I read that the President is seriously concerned with seeing results and getting out or put another way "wants to know where the off-ramps are."

The Pentagon and 'chickenhawks' aren't going to like this and you are going to see another round of complaints about 'dithering'. So be it. I am firmly convinced that Afghanistan is a lost cause and that we should be pulling out as fast as we can. Our efforts in the area should be at stabilizing Pakistan, a nuclear threat, and leaving Afghanistan to its own miserable devices. It's nice to be the 'Lone Ranger' to the world when there is hope of accomplishing something positive but a lost cause is a lost cause and the sooner you stop digging the better.

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