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Archive for the ‘General David Petraeus’ Category

Could “Success” in Afghanistan Be Worse Than Failure?

Success means that the fifth poorest country in the world and foremost narco state is ours for years to come.

July 12, 2011, Washington, D.C. — In triumphant testimony before a joint committee of Congress in which he was greeted on both sides of the aisle as a conquering hero, Gen. David Petraeus announced the withdrawal this month of the first 1,000 American troops from Afghanistan.  “This is the beginning of the pledge the president made to the American people to draw down the surge troops sent in since 2009,” he said, adding, “and yet let me emphasize, as I did when I took this job, that our commitment to the Afghan government and people is an enduring one.”

Last July, when Gen. Petraeus replaced the discredited Gen. Stanley McChrystal as Afghan war commander, he was hailed as an “American hero” by Senator John McCain, as “the most talented officer of his generation” by the New Yorker’s George Packer, and as “the nation’s premier warrior-diplomat” by Karen DeYoung and Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post — typical of the comments of both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives at the time. Petraeus then promised that the United States was in Afghanistan “to win.”

In the year since, the Taliban insurgency has been blunted and “a tipping point has been reached,” says a senior U.S. military official with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, who could speak only on the condition of anonymity, in keeping with the policy of his organization.  By every available measure — IEDs or roadside bombs, suicide attacks, Taliban assassinations of local officials, allied casualties, and Afghan civilian casualties — the intensity of the insurgency has weakened significantly.  The Afghan military and police, though not capable of taking the lead in the fighting in their own country, have been noticeably strengthened by American and NATO training missions.  President Hamid Karzai’s government, still considered weak and corrupt, has succeeded in putting an Afghan face on the war.

Democratic critics of Gen. Petraeus, and of President Obama’s surge strategy, were notably quiet this week as the general toured the capital’s power hotspots from John Podesta’s Center for American Progress to the American Enterprise Institute, while being feted as the hero of the moment and a potential presidential candidate in 2016.  As in 2007, when he was appointed to oversee George W. Bush’s surge in Iraq after the critics said it couldn’t be done, the impressive charts the general brought to his congressional testimony once again vividly indicated otherwise.  The situation in Afghanistan has undergone an Iraq-like change since the nadir of July 2010 when critics and proponents alike agreed that the nine-year-old war was foundering, the counterinsurgency strategy failing, and polling in the U.S. highlighted the war’s increasing unpopularity.

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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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General McChrystal Relieved Of Command: Obama Takes General Off Top Afghan Post

JENNIFER LOVEN and ANNE GEARAN | 06/23/10 01:59 PM | AP Via: Huff Post

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Wednesday, saying his scathing published remarks about administration officials undermined civilian control of the military and eroded trust on the president’s war team.

Obama chose McChrystal’s immediate superior – Gen. David Petraeus – to take over the troubled 9-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The president said he did not make the decision to accept McChrystal’s resignation over any disagreement in policy or “out of any sense of personal insult.”

“I believe it is the right decision for our national security,” Obama said in a statement in the Rose Garden, where he was flanked by Petraeus along with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

McChrystal relieved: Gen. Stanley McChrystal has been relieved of command by President Obama. Gen. David Petraeus will replace McChrystal.

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says he has accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal with regret, but is certain that it is the right decision for the country’s national security and the future of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Speaking in the Rose Garden, Obama says McChrystal’s biting comments about the president and his aides in a magazine article did not meet the standards of conduct for a commanding general.

Obama named Gen. David Petraeus to assume McChrystal’s role as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. He says the move will allow the U.S. to maintain leadership and momentum in the war.

Obama made the announcement following a private meeting with McChrystal and a separate meeting of his national security staff.

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