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Friday, March 27, 2009

Afghanistan Strategy

More funding, more troops and benchmarks. No, we are not talking about Iraq, we are talking about Afghanistan.

The New York Times starts us off:

President Obama plans to further bolster American forces in Afghanistan and for the first time set benchmarks for progress in fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban there and in Pakistan, officials said Thursday.

In imposing conditions on the Afghans and Pakistanis, Mr. Obama is replicating a strategy used in Iraq two years ago both to justify a deeper American commitment and prod governments in the region to take more responsibility for quelling the insurgency and building lasting political institutions.

(Emphasis mine)

Wait, wait, wait, wait.

Replicating a strategy used in Iraq, a strategy that in 2007, Barack Obama clearly stated "would not work", (Video at linked URL of him saying it) he never bothered to admit that it did, but once the strategy did start producing results, some will remember, Obama scrubbed his site of criticism of that "surge".

So, let's get this straight, addition money, $1.5 billion a year in economic development aid and other nonmilitary forms of assistance, according to WSJ, an additional 4,000 added to the the 17,000 extra combat troops that he already ordered to Afghanistan shortly after taking office and benchmarks set for Afghan leaders.

Wow, I guess George Bush should be flattered, they do say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Replicating Bush's strategy, after spending so much time claiming originally that it had no chance of working...

From the Washington Post:

President Obama's new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy will require significantly higher levels of U.S. funding for both countries, with U.S. military expenses in Afghanistan alone, currently about $2 billion a month, increasing by about 60 percent this year.

"The president has decided he is going to resource this war properly," said a senior administration official of the plan Obama is set to announce this morning. Along with the 17,000 additional combat troops authorized last month, he said, Obama will send 4,000 more this fall to serve as trainers and advisers to an Afghan army expected to double in size over the next two years.

It is The Guardian that brings us the kicker here. Obama believes this will help, Obama is willing to pour more resources and troops into a strategy he thinks will work, unless of course it risks his reelection chances.

The planners fear the war could become an election issue as the mid-term Congressional elections in November next year draw near, and that Congress might be reluctant to fund the strategy.

The planners are also said to assume that the overall US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan has a working life of three to five years.

Obama, in a TV interview on Sunday, talked of an "exit strategy" but not a time-frame. Democrats do not want a messy war overshadowing the president's expected re-election attempt in 2012.

Winning wars mean nothing compared to elections... there is your ridiculous item of the day.