Holbrooke on Success in Afghanistan: ‘We’ll Know It When We See It’

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 11:11 am

At a filled-to-capacity event with most of the interagency team run by Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to manage the deteriorating security and political conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Obama administration’s special envoy to the two states addressed a burning question: what will U.S. interests require success to look like in Afghanistan? John Podesta, the president of the Center for American Progress, asked Holbrooke if American interests can be satisfied by integration of former Taliban fighters, a “weak state” and discrete military strikes against al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan.”

“The military struggle with U.S. troops is not an open-ended event, but our civilian assistance will continue,” Holbrooke said. Stressing the interagency coordination represented by the ten officials flanking Holbrooke on the panel at Washington’s St. Regis Hotel, Holbrooke said that while the United States had to be “clear about what our national interests are,” ultimately, success would require taking a “Supreme Court test” — “We’ll know it when we see it.”

(The reference is to a famous line attributed to Justice Potter Stewart about identifying pornography.)

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Comments

14 Comments

mooser
Comment posted August 12, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

“We'll know it when we see it”

Yeah, he's spending lots of time looking at porno flicks for practice. So he'll know it when he sees it.


mooser
Comment posted August 12, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

“We'll know it when we see it”

Yeah, he's spending lots of time looking at porno flicks for practice. So he'll know it when he sees it.


The Washington Independent » Holbrooke on Success in Afghanistan … | Afghanistan Today
Pingback posted August 12, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

[...] and Pakistan, the Obama administration’s special envoy to … See the rest here: The Washington Independent » Holbrooke on Success in Afghanistan … Share and [...]


Steve
Comment posted August 12, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

This is ridiculous – we're spending blood and treasure and he doesn't even have a success metric defined?!

He should follow the Powell Doctrine: Have a clear mission, an exit strategy, and overwhelming force. We've already blown the last one by trying to do it on the cheap, we don't have an exit strategy, and he can't even find the mission.

We should just offer humanitarian aid and obliterate any terrorist camps on an ad hoc basis.


2Dinternational » The Washington Independent » Holbrooke on Success in Afghanistan …
Pingback posted August 12, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

[...] a clear mission, an exit strategy, and overwhelming force. Read more from the original source: The Washington Independent » Holbrooke on Success in Afghanistan … Categories: Success Tags: a-clear-mission, already-blown, civilians-protected, former, little-, [...]


Wonk Room » Holbrooke Emphasizes Agricultural Development In Afghanistan
Pingback posted August 12, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

[...] interagency team at a public event here in DC. Aside from his “we’ll know it when we see it” remark on success in Afghanistan, the most interesting thing about the Holbrooke team’s presentation was [...]


Richard D. Kunt
Comment posted August 12, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

It is obvious that they have hit a hornet's nest and have no idea what to do or where to run.

They should have listened to the Pakistanis, who shared a border and people with the Afghans, and have failed to control the country. It's just not possible. Afghans are untrustworthy and ungrateful.

I don't see why young Americans should die for these pre-historic creatures.


So Afghanistan Is Like… Porn? « Around The Sphere
Pingback posted August 12, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

[...] Spencer Ackerman: The military struggle with U.S. troops is not an open-ended event, but our civilian assistance will continue,” Holbrooke said. Stressing the interagency coordination represented by the ten officials flanking Holbrooke on the panel at Washington’s St. Regis Hotel, Holbrooke said that while the United States had to be “clear about what our national interests are,” ultimately, success would require taking a “Supreme Court test” — “We’ll know it when we see it.” [...]


SqueakyRat
Comment posted August 13, 2009 @ 4:13 am

This is nothing less than an admission of zero policy.


Three Men And Afghanistan « Around The Sphere
Pingback posted August 31, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

[...] as yet that it will deal with broader strategic questions of what the war aims precisely are or how the U.S. will know when they’ve achieved them. (And McChrystal is deferring a decision to request more troops until a later [...]


Why…There’s No Death In War « No Time for Trivia
Pingback posted September 6, 2009 @ 7:38 am

[...] of victory.  “We will know it when we see it,”  U.S. Ambassador Richard Hollebrook said when asked what victory in Afghanistan would [...]


danielet
Comment posted January 1, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

CAN ANYONE POINT TO ***ANYTHING*** HOLBROOKE ACCOMPLISHED THAT IS WORTH MENTIONING AS A “SUCCESS” SINCE VIETNAM, WHEN HE WAS NO MORE THAN A SELF-PROMOTER? PERHAPS THAT'S WHY HE SEEMS TO GET ALONG WITH PETRAEUS AND MCCHRYSTAL, BOTH CAREERIST SELF-PROMOTTING INCOMPETENTS. FACT IS THAT OBAMA IS SURROUNDED BY ALL THE INCOMPETENT CIVILIAN COVER-UP ARTISTS OF BILL CLINTON IN HIS ADMINSTRATION AND THE MILITARY POWER-POINT COVER-UP OF INCOMPETENCE ARTISTS WITH “TOP SECRET” CLASSIFICATION OF EVEN THE PENTAGON TOILET PAPER FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. AS A RESULT, WE WON'T KNOW THAT WE HAVE ECONOMICALLY AND MILITARILY EXSANGUINATED UNTIL WE'RE BLACKING OUT!

WE NEED CHANGE, MR OBAMA. IF YOU'RE TOO GREEN TO PROVIDE IT, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, PLEASE.


danielet
Comment posted January 1, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

CAN ANYONE POINT TO ***ANYTHING*** HOLBROOKE ACCOMPLISHED THAT IS WORTH MENTIONING AS A “SUCCESS” SINCE VIETNAM, WHEN HE WAS NO MORE THAN A SELF-PROMOTER? PERHAPS THAT'S WHY HE SEEMS TO GET ALONG WITH PETRAEUS AND MCCHRYSTAL, BOTH CAREERIST SELF-PROMOTTING INCOMPETENTS. FACT IS THAT OBAMA IS SURROUNDED BY ALL THE INCOMPETENT CIVILIAN COVER-UP ARTISTS OF BILL CLINTON IN HIS ADMINSTRATION AND THE MILITARY POWER-POINT COVER-UP OF INCOMPETENCE ARTISTS WITH “TOP SECRET” CLASSIFICATION OF EVEN THE PENTAGON TOILET PAPER FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. AS A RESULT, WE WON'T KNOW THAT WE HAVE ECONOMICALLY AND MILITARILY EXSANGUINATED UNTIL WE'RE BLACKING OUT!

WE NEED CHANGE, MR OBAMA. IF YOU'RE TOO GREEN TO PROVIDE IT, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, PLEASE.


Business Loans
Comment posted July 1, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

Gulp! Yeah, Dave, critics of the mission in Afghanistan are definitely part of the problem.


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