⭐🔥 Click here to check Latest Celeb News & Celebrity Gossip in 2022! 🔥⭐
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Gates Signals Troop Increase Likely in Afghanistan

An increase of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan seemed like a certainty during a Pentagon press conference held Thursday afternoon by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, though both men insisted no decision had yet been made.

Mariella Blankenship
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Sep 04, 2009

Paktika Province, Afghanistan (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare)
Paktika Province, Afghanistan (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare)

An increase of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan seemed like a certainty during a Pentagon press conference held Thursday afternoon by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, though both men insisted no decision had yet been made.

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin
Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

With speculation rampant about an escalation of the war coming as polls show support for the effort rapidly eroding — especially among President Obama’s fellow Democrats — Gates dialed back his January testimony to the Senate that a large troop presence might cause the Afghan people to turn decisively against the war. Gates said that while he still expresses “concern” about the the size of the troop presence, “by the same token” he said that he “takes seriously” an argument made by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, that Afghan tolerance for foreign troops depends on “the nature of that footprint” and the “behavior of those troops.”

Earlier this week, McChrystal delivered to the Pentagon the results of a strategy review requested by Gates to assess the way forward. Seemingly reacting to reports that have characterized McChrystal as requesting a “new strategy,” Gates emphasized that the review’s goal was to assess the “implementation” of the strategy unveiled by Obama in March, “not launch a new one.” Neither Gates nor Mullen would describe McChrystal’s assessment, which is not public, but Mullen called it “frank” and “candid.”

But several critics have expressed concern that McChrystal’s emphasis on “protect[ing] the Afghan people,” in Mullen’s phrase, represents a divergence from Obama’s March pledge to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” A prominent critic, Michael Cohen, a defense analyst at the New America Foundation, has been blogging for months a feature called “Afghanistan Mission Creep Watch.” Even so, administration officials, who for months have described taking a counterinsurgency-based approach to a counterterrorism objective, have argued privately that they see little choice but to pursue a strategy that places providing for the security of the population above killing terrorists, which counterinsurgents contend is a more enduring path to stability.

Both Gates and Mullen rejected an alternative approach proposed by columnist George Will this week in The Washington Post to refocus military efforts on counterterrorism strikes in the porous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. A “purely kind of counterterrorist campaign” conducted “from a distance” through air strikes was unrealistic, Gates said. Mullen said it would be ” no way to defeat al Qaeda.”

Still, Mullen acknowledged that “time is not on our side.” With 47 troop deaths, August was the bloodiest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan — a consequence, in part, of the decision to increase troops and intensify combat operation’s in Afghanistan’s volatile south and east — than during any previous month in the nearly eight-year-old war.

Mullen, however, has long struck notes of urgency about Afghanistan. First appointed to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2007, the admiral was one of the first senior officials in the Bush administration to deride his colleagues for their inattention to Afghanistan, famously saying that December, “In Afghanistan, we do what we can” but “in Iraq, we do what we must.” Mullen said on Thursday that “more important” than how many troops McChrystal might request for Afghanistan is “how he intends to use them.” He said the U.S. needed to show progress in the next 12 to 18 months.

Responding to the decreased support for the war in opinion polls, Gates rejected the suggestion that the war is “slipping through the administration’s fingers,” saying it was “understandable” that the public would be impatient after nearly eight years’ worth of simultaneous wars. “It’s important to show in the months that come that the president’s strategy is succeeding,” he cautioned.

It is unclear how many additional troops will be sent to Afghanistan, where 62,000 U.S. troops already operate and a few thousand more Obama has already ordered deployed are expected to arrive shortly. Gates and Mullen took pains to say the decision, if any is made, will occur through a collaborative process, first within the Pentagon and then with Obama and the cabinet. Mullen said he had met with the chiefs of all the military services twice this week already to discuss McChrystal’s proposed approach, with one of those meetings including both McChrystal himself and Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia. Mullen said his role would be to keep a “clear eye” on balancing McChrystal’s troop needs with the “needs of the force in general” and around the globe.

In one possible hint that Gates remains uncomfortable with too large of a troop presence in Afghanistan, he analogized the process to the one over withdrawal from Iraq earlier this year, in which he and the Joint Chiefs of Staff persuaded Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, to pull out combat forces months ahead of Odierno’s initial proposal. Mullen anticipated another imminent meeting of the service chiefs on Afghanistan, but did not specify when it would occur.

Mariella Blankenship | Mariella is an SEO writer who helps companies improve their Google search rankings. Her work has appeared in a variety of e-zine publications. She writes articles for site-reference newletter.com on a daily basis about SEO techniques. Her articles strive to strike a balance between being insightful and meeting SEO requirements–but never at the cost of being enjoyable to read.


EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management

At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from

EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules

The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.

EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’

In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work

E-Verify Mandate Begins Today

The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm

EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann  has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.

EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some

EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria

The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards

EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill

New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S

EPA Chief Overruled Calif. Waiver, Too

The Washington Post reported in March that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson was overruled by the White House in setting an ozone standard. Now, documents

© Copyright 2022 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com

⭐🔥 Click here to check Latest Celeb News & Celebrity Gossip in 2022! 🔥⭐