The increasingly dangerous Afghanistan situation is worth analysis at two levels, that of the war itself, the ultimately doomed attempt by the United States to conquer the Taliban insurrection and impose a pro-American government, and the domestic political effect of Barack Obama’s misguided decision to replace “Bush’s war” in Iraq with “Obama’s war” in Afghanistan. MORE...Howie P.S.: "Petraeus' political skills on display before Senate panel, with video (01:22), produced this admonition:
Petraeus warned that the situation could get worse before it gets better.More reporting and analysis from Robert Dreyfuss here:
"My sense is that the tough fighting will continue; indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months," he told the committee. MORE...
Less than a year ago, General David Petraeus saluted smartly and pledged his loyal support for President Obama’s decision to start withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan in July 2011. In December, when Obama decided (for the second time in 2009) to add tens of thousands of additional American forces to the war, he also slapped an 18-month deadline on the military to turn the situation around and begin handing security over to the bedraggled Afghan National Army and police. Speaking to the nation from West Point, Obama said that he’d ordered American forces to start withdrawing from Afghanistan at that time.
Here’s the exchange, between Obama, Petraeus, and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as reported by Jonathan Alter in his new book, The Promise: President Obama, Year One:
OBAMA: "I want you to be honest with me. You can do this in 18 months?"
PETRAEUS: "Sir, I'm confident we can train and hand over to the ANA [Afghan National Army] in that time frame."
OBAMA: "If you can't do the things you say you can in 18 months, then no one is going to suggest we stay, right?"
PETRAEUS: "Yes, sir, in agreement."
MULLEN: "Yes, sir." MORE...