Saturday, September 12, 2009

McChrystal: No Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but keep fighting anyway

Now that we have generals running our foreign policy in the Middle East and Central Asia, this is what you can expect:

Speaking on the eight-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack, top US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal says that he sees no indication of any large al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan.

Gen. McChrystal’s comments come at a time when the Obama Administration is facing an increasing revolt over the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and officials have used the “threat” posed by al-Qaeda as their primary justification for continuing the conflict.

Seemingly oblivious to having already dismissed the conflict’s ostensible raison d’etre, the general continued to defend the war, maintaining that it was winnable given increased effort and insisting that, while he had no evidence to back it up, he “strongly believes” the war has prevented other terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, the Taliban insurgency continues to spread; the Christian Science Monitor:

Long considered one of the most stable and peaceful parts of the country, the northern provinces have seen rising violence as heavy insurgent activity has spread to 80 percent of the country – up from 54 percent two years ago. (See map.) Under increasing pressure in southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, militants who have long sought to extend their reach have turned their attention to the north, where NATO has established a second supply route in the wake of debilitating attacks on its southern pipeline.

So what is the Obama administration doing in the region: doubling down, of course:

WASHINGTON - With hardly any debate, a powerful Senate committee Thursday approved President Barack Obama's $128 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the budget year beginning in October.

The move came as anxiety was increasing in the Capitol over the chances for success in Afghanistan and as Obama weighs whether to send more forces to the country.

The war funding was approved as the Appropriations Committee voted unanimously for a $636 billion spending measure for next year's Defence Department budget. The war funding would implement Obama's order this year to add 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan, which would bring the number of U.S. forces there to 68,000 by the end of 2009.

Yeah, change we can get our troops killed for nothing with.


G Rex said...

I hate to trot out another Vietnam comparison, but I'm reminded that the Tet Offensive essentially wiped out the Viet Cong as a fighting force, leading to the regular North Vietnamese Army taking the lead role against the South.

Miko said...

This is expected under democratic (as in democracy) governments. Dictators are quick to get into wars if they think it'll benefit them/their cronies, but also quick to leave when they see things aren't going there way: after all, if the military was destroyed, the citzenry would overthrow them.

Democracies are (sometimes) slow to get into wars due to bureaucratic overhead, but also slow to leave even when there's obviously no reason to stay: after all, if the public perceives a defeat, the citizenry wouldn't vote for them again.

Duffy said...

I'm still wondering where the morally outraged anti-war people went. It's as if their huge marches, paper mache puppets and dopey signs were really an anti-Republican thing rather than principled anti-war or something. Strange, innit?

Kilroy said...

OK no Al Qaeda but does Afghanistan have an Army and if so when will the step up to and take their country back? Speaking of Vietnam, is it possible we can spray some Agent Orange on the poppy fields.

"Ambassador Richard Holbrooke has said destroying the poppy fields would only strengthen the Taliban. As Sec. Gates told me today, you have to find a crop to replace the poppies or every farmer becomes a Taliban recruit."