Thursday, November 12, 2009

Obamastan: Serve returned...

...tiebreaker drags on. Yesterday:
Afghan ball still in Obama's court...
Today, back to the drawing board (sort of) after eight meetings:

1) Obama said to want revised Afghanistan options
President Barack Obama won't accept any of the Afghanistan war options before him without changes, administration officials say, amid an argument by his own ambassador in Kabul that a significant U.S. troop increase would only prop up a weak, corruption-tainted government.

Obama's ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, who is also a former commander in Afghanistan, is voicing strong dissent against sending more forces, according to an administration official. This puts him at odds with the current war commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is seeking thousands more troops.

Eikenberry's misgivings center on a concern that bolstering the American presence in Afghanistan could make the country more reliant on the U.S., not less. He expressed them in forcefully worded cables to Washington just ahead of Obama's latest war meeting Wednesday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss administration deliberations.

The developments underscore U.S. skepticism about the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose government has been dogged by corruption. The emerging administration message is that Obama will not do anything to lock in an open-ended U.S. commitment.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that she is concerned about Afghanistan's "corruption, lack of transparency, poor governance (and) absence of the rule of law."...

Yet in Wednesday's pivotal war council meeting, Obama wasn't satisfied with any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, one official said.

The president instead pushed for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government. In turn, that could change the dynamic of both how many additional troops are sent to Afghanistan and what the timeline would be for their presence in the war zone, according to the official.

Military officials said Obama has asked for a rewrite before and resisted what one official called a one-way highway toward commander McChrystal's recommendations for more troops. The sense that he was being rushed [?!? emphasis added] and railroaded has stiffened Obama's resolve to seek information and options beyond military planning, officials said, though a substantial troop increase is still likely.

The president is considering options that include adding 30,000 or more U.S. forces to take on the Taliban in key areas of Afghanistan and to buy time for the Afghan government's small and ill-equipped fighting forces to take over. The other three options on the table are ranges of troop increases, from a relatively small addition of forces to the roughly 40,000 that McChrystal prefers, according to military and other officials...

The options given to Obama will now be altered, although not overhauled...
2) U.S. Envoy Urges Caution on Forces for Afghanistan
General Eikenberry sent his reservations to Washington in a cable last week, the officials said. In that same period, President Obama and his national security advisers have begun examining an option that would send relatively few troops to Afghanistan, about 10,000 to 15,000, with most designated as trainers for the Afghan security forces.

This low-end option was one of four alternatives under consideration by Mr. Obama and his war council at a meeting in the White House Situation Room on Wednesday afternoon. The other three options call for troop levels of around 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000, the three officials said.

Mr. Obama asked General Eikenberry about his concerns during the meeting on Wednesday, officials said, and raised questions about each of the four military options and how they might be tinkered with or changed. A central focus of Mr. Obama’s questions, officials said, was how long it would take to see results and be able to withdraw [emphasis added].

“He wants to know where the off-ramps are,” one official said...

The low-end option would essentially reject the more ambitious counterinsurgency strategy envisioned by General McChrystal, which calls for a large number of forces to protect the Afghan population, work on development projects and build up the country’s civil institutions.

It would largely deprive General McChrystal of the ability to send large numbers of American forces to the southern provinces [emphasis added] in Afghanistan where the Taliban control broad areas of territory. And it would limit the number of population centers the United States could secure, officials said...

The White House Afghanistan meeting lasted from 2:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m., and was Mr. Obama’s eighth session in two months on the subject...
What a sieve.

Predate thought:
What might an Afghan think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm taking lessons from Paul Martin ?

President Dithers ?

11:36 a.m., November 12, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

More like President Milli Vanilli.

4:56 p.m., November 12, 2009  

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