Afghanistan Weekly Reader 6-3-11: 10,000 Troops Ain't Enough
Afghanistan Weekly Reader 6-3-11: 10,000 Troops Ain't Enough
The Washington rumor mill is dishing out estimates of troop numbers to be brought home as part of the promised July drawdown in Afghanistan. Those estimates have shrunk over the last two years, from Vice President Biden’s “a whole lot of people moving out” to “significant” to “not token” to “as few as a couple thousand troops.”
Now unnamed officials are forecasting a reversal of the trend in speculating that President Obama could announce a pullout of 10,000 troops over the next year. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, speaking for a majority of Americans, is not impressed. Plainly stating that “It’s time to leave Afganistan”, the Sentinel’s editorial board echoes the views of the public at large: the U.S. has achieved the goals set out after 9/11, securing America’s national interests in Afghanistan does not require the presence of over 100,000 troops, and the continuing cost in dollars and lives can no longer be justified.
Last week’s vote in Congress, and this week’s news from Afghanistan, support the Sentinel’s advocation: “Obama's plan is to begin withdrawing some of the 100,000 troops from Afghanistan in July, with all combat forces due out by 2014...He should move faster.”
FROM THE ASG BLOG
Reconciliation: Then and Now
ASG Blog by Edward Kenney
About eight months ago, a spate of articles were published in major American newspapers suggesting that the U.S. and Afghan government had begun serious overtures to the Taliban. At the time, some optimists suggested that the U.S. was turning a corner in its Afghan strategy, particularly with the decision in that month to allow insurgents safe passage to negotiate with the Afghan government.
Palin Goes Rogue on Afghanistan
ASG Blog by Will Keola Thomas
In Alaska, they say the only difference between Sarah Palin and a pitbull is lipstick. But on Tuesday, former Gov. Palin showed that unlike the famously obstinate pitbull, she knows when to let go.
Afghanistan War IEDs Cause Surge in Double Amputees Among U.S. War Wounded
Huffington Post by David Wood
Improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against dismounted troops have skyrocketed, from five in April 2009 to 210 in April 2010 to 376 this past April, according to data gathered and analyzed by the Pentagon's counter-IED agency, the Joint IED Defeat Organization.
Cost of war in Afghanistan will be major factor in troop-reduction talks
The Washington Post with Foreign Policy by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
“Money is the new 800-pound gorilla,” said another senior administration official involved in Afghanistan policy, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It shifts the debate from ‘Is the strategy working?’ to ‘Can we afford this?’ And when you view it that way, the scope of the mission that we have now is far, far less defensible.”
Karzai orders NATO to stop airstrikes in Afghanistan
Washington Post by Joshua Partlow and Javed Hamdard
The demand was the most serious warning to the coalition that Karzai has issued to date. The immediate provocation was a coalition airstrike on Saturday in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province that killed nine civilians, including children. But Karzai’s statement also was the culmination of years of complaints about civilian casualties and aggressive NATO military operations.
Garamendi visits Afghanistan
Mercury News.com by Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Garamendi described the Shindand operation as similar to a development initiative run by the Peace Corps, an organization he and his wife, Patty, have served in and promoted for decades. "We spent 18 hours with special operations, and I was surprised to learn that not only are they trained in the art of war, but they are also trained in community development "...
US Trolling for Taliban to Open Talks
New York Times by the Associated Press
After 10 years of bloody battle in Afghanistan, the United States is trolling for Taliban officials to talk peace with before the July drawdown of American troops. But as Washington seeks negotiating partners, it has little knowledge of who among the Taliban has the clout to make talks worthwhile.
Bagram prison, bigger than Guantanamo, its prisoners in limbo, cries out for some news coverage
Nieman Watchdog by John Hanrahan
Under a U.S. military system straight out of Kafka’s “The Trial” and Heller’s “Catch-22”, some 1,700 detainees at the Bagram U.S. Air Base in Afghanistan are being held without charges or a trial, primarily on the basis of secret evidence that they never get to see or challenge.
For Many Republicans, Afghanistan Is A Budget Issue
US News and World Report by Jessica Rettig
After a decade, nearly 1,500 American soldiers have been killed and more than 11,500 have been wounded in action in Afghanistan. While these casualties have surely had an effect on U.S. policy, increasingly in Congress the focus on Afghanistan is as much about treasure as about blood.
Boehner says Obama Needs to “Step Up” and Explain Missions in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq
abcnews by John R. Parkinson
Boehner said that having recently visited Afghanistan he has “a pretty good feel” for the national security interests there, but called on the president to clearly define the missions in all three current theatres of war. “The president has a role to play here,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “I really do believe that the president needs to speak out, in terms of our mission in Afghanistan, our mission in Iraq, our mission in Libya, and the doubts that our members have frankly reflected they’re reflecting what they’re hearing from their constituents.”
Time to Begin Leaving Afghanistan
informed COMMENT by Juan Cole
It in any case is likely to be a limited engagement. The place where there are over 100,000 US troops doing war-fighting on a large scale and over many years is Afghanistan, which for some reason gets less press and less public interest than Libya.
Years of Stagnation
Registan by Joshua Foust
Beyond that, what Anderson’s piece, which is absolutely worth reading along with everything else he’s ever written, shows is how strategically adrift the war in Afghanistan truly is—and almost as worryingly, how shallow and mistaken our understanding of the basic issues driving the war really are.