ABC: Obama Hearts Eikenberry « The Washington Independent
Lots of blind quotes are coming out from the Obama administration expressing strong support for Amb. Karl Eikenberry. I reported earlier today that there was anger with him at the White House after the press leak of his cabled recommendations to hold off troop escalation until Hamid Karzai’s government signals a robust commitment to anti-corruption measures. But I also reported that President Obama was solicitous of Eikenberry’s advice.
And how! Here’s Jake Tapper of ABC:
Eikenberry arguably “knows Afghanistan better than anyone else in the US government,” a senior administration official said. “He’s basically been there non-stop since 2003 in a range of capabilities, at a range of times, and in range of assignments,” having served as United States Security Coordinator for Afghanistan, Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan and Commander of the Combined Forces Command.
As leader of the civilian diplomatic corps as Ambassador, Eikenberry is “lead civilian Big Dog in this fight,” another official said. “The President really wants his unvarnished opinion.”
That’s one serious endorsement. I suppose a wag could say that Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is supposed to be the “lead civilian Big Dog,” but whatever. (Holbrooke is curiously going to … Russia, according to Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin.)