Matthew Hoh, a member of the Foreign Service, has resigned because he doesn’t know what the purpose or goals in our occupation of Afghanistan:
According to Brian Doherty, over 3,500 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since Barack Obama took office:
Civilian casualties (est.) in two wars being waged by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize:
Jason Pye put forth an excellent post on why it’s time to leave Afghanistan. Adding to that, the foreign policy experts at Cato just released a new video on the war effort. Check it out:
Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL) called recently for a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan:
GIBSON CITY – U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, told a town hall meeting Monday night that he plans to sponsor legislation calling for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
“I want to protect America, but I don’t want to lose lives senselessly,” Johnson said following a one-hour, open-air session with about 300 people at a park pavilion in Gibson City. “And we cannot police the world.”
Johnson’s unexpected comments were reminiscent of a break he made in early 2007 with former President Bush over the war in Iraq. At that time, he came out against a “troop surge” in Iraq. “People believe and I believe that we are at a point in history where, unless we have dramatic change in direction, we can wind up being mired and continue to lose large numbers of lives – American, Iraqi and others – indefinitely,” he said in January 2007. “And I’m not going to be a part of it.”
Two years later, regarding a different country and with a different president, Johnson said he sees a similarity.
“I’m suggesting to you that there is no end game. I believe that our men and women are there in a mission that is ill-defined,” Johnson said of the war in Afghanistan and the growing pressure to send more American troops there. “I think we’re losing people by the day, here and over there, with no even indirect relationship to our national security.
Today’s Washington Post suggest that Obama is leaning toward rejecting General Stanley McChrystal’s strategy for expanding the war in Afghanistan:
Senior White House officials have begun to make the case for a policy shift in Afghanistan that would send few, if any, new combat troops to the country and instead focus on faster military training of Afghan forces, continued assassinations of al-Qaeda leaders and support for the government of neighboring Pakistan in its fight against the Taliban.
In a three-hour meeting Wednesday at the White House, senior advisers challenged some of the key assumptions in Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s blunt assessment of the nearly eight-year-old war, which President Obama has said is being fought to destroy al-Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and the ungoverned border areas of Pakistan.
McChrystal, commander of the 100,000 NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has asked Obama to quickly endorse his call for a change in military strategy and approve the additional resources he needs to retake the initiative from the resurgent Taliban.
But White House officials are resisting McChrystal’s call for urgency, which he underscored Thursday during a speech in London, and questioning important elements of his assessment, which calls for a vast expansion of an increasingly unpopular war. One senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting, said, “A lot of assumptions — and I don’t want to say myths, but a lot of assumptions — were exposed to the light of day.”
A plurality of Americans oppose sending more troops into Afghanistan, fearing it will turn into another Vietnam:
Americans are closely divided over whether the United States should send more troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) say yes to sending more troops, while 40% say no. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure.
Two-out-of-three Americans (66%) are now at least somewhat concerned that the war in Afghanistan will become another Vietnam for the United States. Thirty-eight percent (38%) are very concerned.
It’s unclear what the Obama Administration will do at this point.
The latest CBS/New York Times poll shows that while the President remains popular, his major policy initiatives are not:
President Obama is confronting declining support for his handling of the war in Afghanistan and an electorate confused and anxious about a health care overhaul as he prepares for pivotal battles over both issues, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
But Mr. Obama is going into the fall having retained considerable political strength. At 56 percent, his approval rating is down from earlier in the year but still reasonably strong at this point compared with recent presidents.
More Americans are starting to credit his stimulus package with having helped to revive the economy. And Mr. Obama retains a decided advantage with the American public over Republicans on prominent issues, starting with health care.
The poll found that an intense campaign by Mr. Obama to rally support behind his health care plan — including an address to Congress, a run of television interviews and rallies across the country — appears to have done little to allay concerns.
Majorities of respondents said that they were confused about the health care argument and that Mr. Obama had not done a good job in explaining what he was trying to accomplish.
“The Obama administration seems to have a plan, but I’m not understanding the exact details,” Paul Corkery, 59, a Democrat from Somerset, N.J., said in a follow-up interview.
The internal debate over Afghan War policy is getting very interesting:
WASHINGTON — President Obama is exploring alternatives to a major troop increase in Afghanistan, including a plan advocated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back American forces and focus more on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday.
The options under review are part of what administration officials described as a wholesale reconsideration of a strategy the president announced with fanfare just six months ago. Two new intelligence reports are being conducted to evaluate Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.
The sweeping reassessment has been prompted by deteriorating conditions on the ground, the messy and still unsettled outcome of the Afghan elections and a dire report by Mr. Obama’s new commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. Aides said the president wanted to examine whether the strategy he unveiled in March was still the best approach and whether it could work with the extra combat forces General McChrystal wants.
In looking at other options, aides said, Mr. Obama might just be testing assumptions — and assuring liberals in his own party that he was not rushing into a further expansion of the war — before ultimately agreeing to the anticipated troop request from General McChrystal. But the review suggests the president is having second thoughts about how deeply to engage in an intractable eight-year conflict that is not going well.
The Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is painting a bleak picture of the war if he doesn’t get additional troops:
The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict “will likely result in failure,” according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: “Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”
His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.
McChrystal concludes the document’s five-page Commander’s Summary on a note of muted optimism: “While the situation is serious, success is still achievable.”
But he repeatedly warns that without more forces and the rapid implementation of a genuine counterinsurgency strategy, defeat is likely. McChrystal describes an Afghan government riddled with corruption and an international force undermined by tactics that alienate civilians.
He provides extensive new details about the Taliban insurgency, which he calls a muscular and sophisticated enemy that uses modern propaganda and systematically reaches into Afghanistan’s prisons to recruit members and even plan operations.
According to the latest CNN/Opinion Research Poll:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high in a new national poll.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, with 42 percent supporting the military mission. The percentage of those in opposition to the war is up 11 points since April, and is the highest ever in CNN polling since the launch of the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
The poll indicates that opposition to the war is coming mainly from Democrats and independents.
“Fifty-seven percent of independents and nearly three-quarters of Democrats oppose the war. Seven in 10 Republicans support what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Democrats mildly opposed the war in April while independents and Republicans favored it. But opposition has grown 18 points among Democrats and 10 points among independents.”
The poll suggests that nearly six in 10 think the U.S. can win the conflict in Afghanistan, but only 35 percent questioned in the survey say that American is currently winning the war.