Op-Ed by Eugene Robinson
Eugene Robinson—The most dreadful burden of the presidency — the power to send men and women to die for their country — seems to weigh heavily on Barack Obama these days. He went to Dover Air Force Base to salute the coffins of fallen troops. He gave a moving speech at the memorial service for victims of last week’s killings at Fort Hood. On Veterans Day, after the traditional wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, he took an unscheduled walk among the rows of marble headstones in Section 60, where the dead from our two ongoing wars are buried.
Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson
As he decides whether to escalate the war in Afghanistan, Obama should keep these images in mind. Geopolitical calculation has human consequences. Sending more troops will mean more coffins arriving at Dover, more funerals at Arlington, more stress and hardship for military families. It would be wrong to demand such sacrifice in the absence of military goals that are clear, achievable and worthwhile.
And what goals in Afghanistan remotely satisfy those criteria?
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, recently sent two classified cables to officials in Washington expressing what the newspaper described as “deep concerns” about sending more troops now.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, chosen by Obama to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has asked for perhaps 40,000 additional troops to carry out a counterinsurgency campaign. Armchair Napoleons in Washington, comfortably ensconced in their book-lined offices, insist that Obama must “listen to the generals.” But Eikenberry was a four-star general until Obama named him ambassador earlier this year. He commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2006-07. He needs to be heard as well.
Filed under Afghanistan, Army, Barack Obama, Eugene Robinson, Marines, Middle East, Military, Navy, Politics, Presidents, Reserve, Terrorism, Uncategorized, Veterans, War
Warning: This video contains graphic language and imagery and NSFW
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Filed under Al-Qaeda, Democrats, Guns, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, Politics, Republicans, TV Shows, Uncategorized, War
Posted by Audiegrl
This photo provided by the White House shows President Barack Obama meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009, aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Associated Press/Julie Pace & Lara Jakes—At a pivotal point in the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, President Barack Obama and his top Afghan war commander met privately aboard Air Force One Friday for a talk the White House described as productive.
The 25-minute meeting with Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, aboard Air Force One as it waited to carry the president home from Denmark, gave Obama a chance to step outside the circle of advisers he has convened to study the problem of Afghanistan. His war council has been sharing differing opinions on whether the U.S. should send thousands more troops to tamp down the Taliban, or shift to a narrower focus on al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan.
The Copenhagen meeting was an extension of those war council sessions “as we reassess and re-evaluate moving forward in Afghanistan,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters afterward.
He said Obama and McChrystal “both agree that this is a helpful process.” No decisions were made at their meeting, Gibbs said.
Obama was in the Danish capital to pitch Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic games, and McChrystal was summoned there from London, where he gave a speech on Thursday warning that insurgents are gaining strength in Afghanistan and the U.S. needs to increase its efforts there.
Mtg on Air Force One with Gen. McChrystal
Hours after Obama and McChrystal met, the Pentagon said that the general’s official request for more troops for the war will not be sent to the White House until next week at the earliest.
At issue is Obama’s looming decision to stick with the current mission in Afghanistan – which could require adding as many as 40,000 additional U.S. troops – or scale back the military option and expand operations targeting terrorists in Pakistan.
Posted by GeoT
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who spoke Tuesday in National Harbor, Md., wants to scale back troops in Afghanistan.
New York Times/Peter Baker & Elisabeth Bumiller—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.
Read more @