Via Abu Muqawama, let’s presume for the sake of argument that we know everything we need to know about the Obama administration’s forthcoming shift in
Via Abu Muqawama, let’s presume for the sake of argument that we know everything we need to know about the Obama administration’s forthcoming shift in Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy from this report from the Associated Press:
The U.S. goal in Afghanistan must be to protect Kabul’s fragile government from collapsing under pressure from the Taliban — a goal that can only be achieved by securing Pakistan’s cooperation, increasing substantially the size of Afghanistan’s national security forces and boosting economic aid in the region, according to senior military and intelligence officials. …
Broadly speaking, the Obama administration was expected to endorse a doctrine of counterinsurgency that has military and civilian components and that scales back U.S. expectations for Afghan democracy and self-sufficiency. A main theme is the premise that the military alone cannot win the war, officials said.
The review was expected to focus on containing the Taliban and the proliferation of lesser-known militant groups, providing a greater sense of security and stability for Afghan civilians and increasing the size and proficiency of the Afghan armed forces.
Any news report that speaks about “scaling back” any expectations in Afghanistan is likely to distress the Karzai government, which two weeks ago dispatched a bevvy of cabinet ministers to Washington to plead against doing just that. But — again, presuming that this report is definitive — the Obama administration is giving them substantively much of what that Afghan delegation argued for: a warfighting strategy that emphasizes the security of the population; a bolstered effort to train the Afghan security forces; and increased development aid. The missing piece here that the Afghan delegation argued for is an emphasis on providing better governance . But even though The Associated Press’ story doesn’t say it, it’s hard to imagine that counterinsurgents like Gen. David Petraeus or Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy would be putting forward a counterinsurgency strategy that didn’t have a governance component. So the Afghan delegation’s circle appears to be squared.
That, however, raises the question of how much the goals actually have been scaled back, or whether the Obama administration truly does have clear goals in mind. We’ll be able to judge that in fuller detail when the strategy is announced — possibly as early as next week, according to the Associated Press. But it appears for the moment that the Obama administration is looking to eliminate jihadist safe havens, “containing” the Taliban — and I don’t know what that means, particularly if getting rid of the safe havens is the goal — and settling for a stable Afghan government. And there’s no contradiction between using counterinsurgency means to a counterterrorist objective.
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg
In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.