US Def Secy says its not time to leave Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Sep 3, 2009.

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  1. Gates says it's not time to leave Afghanistan

    By LARA JAKES and PAULINE JELINEK (AP) – 49 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON — Facing eroding public support for the war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon chief said Thursday that the Obama administration's effort in the eight-year-old conflict is "only now beginning." Defense Secretary Robert Gates also said he disagrees with people who say it's time to get out of Afghanistan.

    Several recent public opinion polls have shown Americans expressing declining support for the idea of sending more troops to the conflict and falling confidence in how the campaign is going. But at a Pentagon news conference, Gates challenged the public perception that the effort is getting away from the administration.

    "I don't believe that the war is slipping through the administration's fingers," Gates said. "The nation has been at war for eight years. The fact that Americans would be tired of having their sons and daughters at risk and in battle is not surprising."

    Gates argued that President Barack Obama's new strategy in Afghanistan hasn't even been given a chance to work.

    "I think what is important to remember is the president's decisions on this strategy were only made at the very end of March; our new commander appeared on the scene in June," Gates said, adding that the extra troops Obama ordered are not even all there yet, nor is the "civilian surge" he wants on hand to help.

    "So we are only now beginning to be in a position to have the assets in place and the strategy or the military approach in place to begin to implement the strategy," he said.

    The new U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, on Monday delivered a classified assessment of how the war is going and is expected in the coming weeks to ask for more troops and money to turn the war around.

    Obama is reading the report during the long Labor Day weekend at Camp David, his aides said.

    Neither Gates nor Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen responded to a question about what the still-classified report concludes. But they repeatedly dropped references to some of McChrystal's recommendations, with Mullen calling it a "frank and candid" look at how military forces can accomplish the Afghanistan mission.

    Much of the debate around Afghanistan has centered on how many additional troops are needed there, and for how long. By the end of the year, an estimated 68,000 troops will be in Afghanistan — 21,000 of which were ordered there by Obama last spring. Military commanders and State Department officials on the ground, however, say many more are needed to get the job done.

    Mullen said questions of how many more troops might be sent was just a piece of the needs that the Pentagon soon will ask Congress to fulfill. "It's a piece — critical, but it's not total," Mullen said.
  2. It doesn't take a genius to realise that if you allow the population to be bombarded with negative propaganda and never told of the successes or the victories then of course support will waver. The government needs to start publishing news beyond lists of KIAs; that thread you posted about the USMC with the bloke who looked a bit like Prince Harry would be ideal. If the American (and for that matter the British) population can be proud of their forces, can see that they're gaining ground, can read about what ISAF is doing for the Afghans then they will be able to make a more balanced decision about whether they support the war.
  3. Good insight. It is frustrating to see us having to re-learn lessons we should have learned long ago. These same dynamics were at work during the Vietnam War and eventually the bad news won in terms of contributing to a loss of will by the American people.

    Before others jump me I realize there were many factors at work in that war, I am only focusing on this issue for purposes of this thread.
  4. The Iraq war only looks like being won now because Bush was willing to continue when the public had had their fill and most thought it was lost. Continuing the Afghan war until we have a domestic force there able to be most of the heavy lifting is going to be far harder, as I think for major combat we are looking at things running on until 2014 or so. The real danger is that if we quit now, we lose. If we fight it to the extent that we can leave except for having to bung the Afghan government a couple of billion dollars a year, we risk a great many people becoming disillusioned with Obama and letting Palin in during 2012.
  5. Also good insights demonstrating my thesis that I have grave doubts if any "western" nation with a representative form of government can outlast an insurgent/terrorist opponent who is willing (and able) to trade lives for time.

    My only quibble would be the implied horror that Palin could be president. :D
  6. My bold.

    A Republican President went out on a limb, and brought a form of Democracy in Iraq.

    Are you saying Obama and his sidekicks can't achieve that in Afghanistan?

    What is so wrong with letting 'Palin in'

    Can't a woman do the job of a so called Chimp (a succesful chimp at that)
  7. I have had some very interesting conversations with commanders from Nationalist movements (guerillas and terrorists) who graduated from the Patricia Lumbumba Academy in Moscow. Their perceptions of time are completely different from hours. In fact they often decelerate their aggression until the cadres and masses are fully prepared. 10 years is neither here nor there to the Afs.
  8. I did and still do support what Bush did in Iraq, my point is an issue (a) electoral timing and (b) The Palin factor.

    Palin? Fcuk no. Just no. Her being a women is of no importance: I could get out my address book right and give you the names and addresses of at least 5 American women who could do a decent job as President all by myself. I would rather dig up Taft and prop him up in a chair in the Oval Office for 4 years than see Palin in charge.
  9. Did you see the Porno movie Nailin Palin? Its a cracker. :)
  10. Of course it's not time yet. I've only just finished my tea and still got my crumpet to come. Surely it can wait until then?
  11. I dunno-talk to gates-they quit asking me some time ago. :D