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Maddow Asks — and Obama Dodges — on Afghan Mission

To follow on Ari’s post about Rachel Maddow’s interview with Obama, Maddow asked a question about the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Obama has consistently argued for a larger troop presence there, but what’s the mission, exactly? And how would more troops accomplish it?

Obama dodged this one like he was Harry Whittington seeing Dick Cheney cleaning a hunting rifle. He responded with a recitation of the compounded problems U.S. troops face in Afghanistan. Here’s the closest Obama comes to an answer:

The most important thing we’re going to have to do with respect to Afghanistan, is actually deal with Pakistan. And we’ve got work with the newly elected government there in a coherent way that says, terrorism is now a threat to you. Extremism is a threat to you. We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants.

And, we’ve got to say to the Pakistani people, we’re not just going to fund a dictator in order for us to feel comfortable with who we’re dealing with. We’re going to respect democracy. But, we do have expectations in terms of being a partner in its terrorism.

That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t have anything to do with a U.S. troop increase. Here’s the video:

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