ASG Weekly Reader: Winning the War at Home
Exclusive: Obama's Secret Afghan Exit
Daily Beast by Leslie H. Gelb
Obama is keeping under wraps a hush-hush plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan—and he hopes it will satisfy those pushing for a quick exit and the diehards determined to stay the course
Ninety Percent of Petraeus’s Captured ‘Taliban’ Were Civilians
IPS by Gareth Porter
The claims of huge numbers of Taliban captured and killed continued through the rest of 2010. In December, Petraeus's command said a total of 4,100 Taliban rank and file had been captured in the previous six months and 2,000 had been killed. Those figures were critical to creating a new media narrative hailing the success of SOF operations as reversing what had been a losing U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. But it turns out that more than 80 percent of those called captured Taliban fighters were released within days of having been picked up, because they were found to have been innocent civilians, according to official U.S. military data.
Bob Corker Says War in Afghanistan ‘Not Sustainable’
ABC News by Jonathan Karl and Gregory Simmons
"I think all of us who have been in Afghanistan on the ground multiple times know that what we're doing there on the ground is just not sustainable," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said.
As Local Militias Expand in Northern Afghanistan, Tales of Abuse Follow
NYTimes by Rod Nordland
Untrained local forces like the arbakai, who hope to be accepted and paid as Afghan Local Police, “just create problems,” an international official with knowledge of the A.L.P. program said. “It is still preying on the people, changing one predator for another.”
House panel backs $649 billion in defense spending
Reuters by David Alexander and Susan Cornwell
When Democratic Representative Betty McCollum suggested a measure to force the Pentagon to curb the $100 million it spends annually in race car sponsorships as part of its recruitment campaign, the lawmakers balked. "Perhaps," one suggested, "she does not understand the cultural relationship of NASCAR (stock car racing) to those of us who live in the South."
Candidates Show G.O.P. Less United on Goals of War
NY Times by Jeff Zeleny
The hawkish consensus on national security that has dominated Republican foreign policy for the last decade is giving way to a more nuanced view, with some presidential candidates expressing a desire to withdraw from Afghanistan as quickly as possible and suggesting that the United States has overreached in Libya.
Withdrawal From Afghanistan Will Likely Be Slow
Within the next few weeks, Obama will announce his decision about the pace of the transition. A small interagency review has already finished its work, which will provide the broader context for Petraeus's recommendations.
Even Rep. Dicks is now calling for ending war in Afghanistan
The News Tribune by Rob Hotakainen
If you need proof that the tide has turned against the war in Afghanistan, Exhibit A is Rep. Norm Dicks of Belfair, the top-ranked House Democrat in charge of the Pentagon’s budget.
U.S. Mayors Announce Call to End Afghanistan War & Invest in Job Creation
Gamut News by Gamut News Staff
The nation’s mayors, led by Conference President and Burnsville, MN Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, will announce the introduction of a resolution, calling to end the Afghanistan War and re-direct spending for job creation this Friday, the beginning of their four-day annual meeting in Baltimore.
Pentagon wants to ‘extend’ Afghanistan surge
The US military is asking President Barack Obama to maintain its troop surge in Afghanistan until the fall of 2012, a month before a scheduled withdrawal, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The timeline would mean the president could promise large troop reductions to a war-weary public just ahead of the November 2012 presidential elections in which he seeks a second term, but military officials told the Journal that the electoral schedule had nothing to do with their proposal.
Report Sees Danger in Local Allies
Wall Street Journal by Dion Nissenbaum
The killings of American soldiers by Afghan troops are turning into a "rapidly growing systemic threat" that could undermine the entire war effort, according to a classified military study.
Our Current Strategy in Afghanistan Is Built on Strategic Myths
National Interest by Joshua Rovner
America’s strategy in Afghanistan has become incoherent. Among other problems, it is based on two questionable assumptions which large swaths of the foreign policy community take for granted. Both are wrong.