Archive for December 1st, 2009

by Patrick J. Buchanan on November 30, 2009

Led by a conflicted president of a divided party and nation, America is deepening her involvement in a war in its ninth year with no end in sight.

Only one parallel to Barack Obama’s troop decision comes to mind: the 2007 decision by George W. Bush to ignore the Baker Commission and put Gen. David Petraeus in command of a “surge” of 30,000 troops into Iraq.

That surge succeeded. Baghdad was largely pacified. The Sunni of Anbar, heart of the resistance, accepted Petraeus’ offer of cash and a role in the new Iraq. Together, Americans and Sunni began to eradicate al-Qaida. In July, the surge ended and U.S. troops withdrew from the cities.

In August and October, however, the Finance, Justice and Foreign ministries were bombed. The Sons of Iraq now say the Shia government reneged on its pledge to pay their wages and bring them into the army.

Jockeying in parliament for the inside track to power in January’s elections may force a postponement of the elections, and of the U.S. timetable for withdrawal. Kurds and Arabs are battling over Kirkuk. Iraqis seem to be going back to fighting one another.

What hope can there be then for a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan, a larger, wilder, less accessible, more backward country, whose regime is less competent and more corrupt than that in Iraq?

[Original Article]

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American troops from a bomb-detection unit on duty in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, watched passing aircraft on Monday. Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press

Obama Afghanistan Speech LIVE: Watch Video, Twitter Analysis

Huffington Post-  Posted: 12- 1-09 09:39 AM

President Obama briefs the nation on his Afghanistan strategy on Tuesday evening from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.


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Maurice Clemmons Killed: Suspect In Seattle Officer Killings Is Fatally Shot

GENE JOHNSON | 12/ 1/09 10:41 AM | AP

SEATTLE — The man suspected of gunning down four police officers in a suburban coffee shop was shot and killed by a lone patrolman investigating a stolen car early Tuesday. Four people were arrested for allegedly helping the suspect elude authorities during a massive two-day manhunt.

Maurice Clemmons was carrying a handgun he took from one of the dead officers when a Seattle policeman recognized him near a stolen car in a working-class south Seattle neighborhood about 2:45 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said.

The vehicle was running but unoccupied when the officer pulled up, radioed in the license plate number and realized the car was stolen, Pugel said.

The officer saw something moving, got out of his car, saw Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands and stop.

“He wouldn’t stop,” Pugel said. “The officer fired several rounds.”

Clemmons also had sustained a serious gunshot wound from one of the four officers killed in the coffee-shop shooting.

Police planned to arrest more people who helped Clemmons.

“We expect to have maybe six or seven people in custody by the day’s end,” said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff. “Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime, some are relatives. Now they’re all partners in crime.”


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Obama’s Afghanistan Plan: 30,000 Troops, Marines To Be First Wave

JENNIFER LOVEN and ANNE GEARAN | 12/ 1/09 10:55 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan over six months, a senior administration official said Tuesday, on an accelerated timetable that would dispatch several hundred Marines by Christmas.

With the full complement of troops expected by next summer, the heightened pace of Obama’s military deployment in the 8-year-old war would appear to match the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, which rushed 20,000 combat forces to quell violence there. The Afghan surge would similarly aim to reverse Taliban gains and secure population centers in the volatile south and east parts of the country.

In his prime-time speech to the nation Tuesday night at West Point, Obama will tie the escalation to an exit strategy, laying out a rough timeframe and some dates for when the main U.S. military mission would end. Public opinion in this country has become increasingly divided over American participation in the stalemated war.

Obama will try to sell a skeptical public on his bigger, costlier war plan by coupling the large new troop infusion with an emphasis on stepped-up training for Afghan forces that he says will allow the U.S. to leave.

The new infusion of troops had been envisioned to take place over a year, or even more, because force deployments in Iraq and elsewhere make it logistically difficult, if not impossible, to go faster.

Instead, Obama directed his military planners to make the changes necessary to speed up the Afghanistan additions, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not yet been announced.

Military officials said at least one group of Marines is expected to deploy within two or three weeks of Obama’s announcement, and would be in Afghanistan by Christmas. Larger deployments wouldn’t be able to follow until early in 2010.

The initial infusion is a recognition by the administration that something tangible needs to happen quickly, officials said. The quick addition of Marines would provide badly needed reinforcements to those fighting against Taliban gains in the southern Helmand province, and could lend reassurance to both Afghans and the U.S. public.


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