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Archive for June 24th, 2010

The tabloid drama between the White House and McChrystal should give way to some sober assessments about Afghanistan.

June 24, 2010 |

After the media firestorm ignited by Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff criticizing officials in the Obama administration, it’s high time that Americans get back to the basics about Afghanistan.

Basic #1) Afghanistan does not constitute a vital interest to the United States.

Don’t believe the hype about Afghanistan being critical to America’s security. Al Qaeda poses a manageable security problem, not an existential threat. And whatever economic value the region holds, Stephen Walt, citing Jack Synder’s Myths of Empire, does a great job disputing the contention that Afghanistan is a strategic asset because it is brimming with natural resources.

Basic #2) We Don’t Need to Remain in Afghanistan to Protect Pakistan.

It is commonly held by the foreign policy elites that if Washington abandoned Afghanistan to its fate, emboldened jihadist groups could spill into neighboring Pakistan, fatally weaken its government, and seize its nuclear weapons.

This thinking is misguided.

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“I’m wondering if Fox News isn’t pressing up very closely to its tipping point; to the moment where Fox News reveals how certifiably insane it is by rushing to BP’s defense.”

June 24, 2010 |

Eight-two percent.

That’s the number you need to keep in mind as you listen to the right-wing caterwauling about how poor, helpless BP has been tormented and demonized by the bullying, Constitution-hating Obama White House.

Eight-two percent.

According to the latest CNN poll, a huge, huge, huge majority of Americans supports the $20 billion escrow fund that BP agreed to create in order to help pay for the Gulf of Mexico cleanup.

And get this: According to the same CNN poll, a microscopic 5 percent of Americans think Obama has been “too tough” on BP. Just 5 percent.

But apparently those 5-percenters all host radio and TV shows, or blog online, because that radical claim that Obama’s to blame for creating the hated escrow fund (not to mention for causing the oil spill in the first place), has been exploding within the GOP Noise Machine as pundits, bloggers, and talk show hosts rush to defend BP and denounce one of the most popular things Obama has ever done.

And, of course, helping lead the charge to guard BP from Obama’s wicked ways has been Fox News.

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by Tom Andrews, CommonDreams.org, June 23, 2010

Unfortunately, President Obama missed an opportunity today to not only replace an out-of-control general but an out-of-control and failing strategy in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, mainstream media continue to miss the most serious story contained in the now famous Rolling Stone profile.

Michael Hastings’ piece is about more than an adolescent general and his buddies’ school-yard shenanigans in Kabul and Paris. It was about a failing strategy in Afghanistan and the disconnect between how the administration portrays the war in public and the reality of how the war is actually being waged.

Here are three points in the Rolling Stone article that contradict what the White House has presented to Congress and the American people about the war in Afghanistan:

“Instead of beginning to withdraw troops next year, as Obama promised, the military hopes to ramp up its counterinsurgency campaign even further.” A senior military official stationed in Afghanistan told Hastings: “There’s a possibility we could ask for another surge of US forces next summer if we see success here.”

Continues >>

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