The questions on my mind are: How many trillions of dollars do we have to spend, how many lives need to be wasted, and how much longer are we going to be involved in the boondoggle known as Afghanistan?
Such questions were on my mind even before Leaked Documents Underscore Lawmakers’ Concerns on Afghan War
President Barack Obama faces renewed concern about his Afghanistan war strategy after leaked military documents suggested Pakistan’s main intelligence agency secretly aided the Taliban and others the U.S is trying to defeat.
Disclosure of the documents, as Congress this week considers funding for the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan, underscored questions about the war while many lawmakers prepare to go home to campaign in August.
Some of the 92,000 classified reports, disclosed July 25 by the website Wikileaks, say that members of Pakistan’s Inter- Services Intelligence Directorate helped the Taliban and other Islamic rebels. The documents, covering 2004 through 2009, were reported by the New York Times, the London-based Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel, which said Wikileaks provided them the reports three weeks ago.
The leaked documents “raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. “Those policies are at a critical stage,” and the documents “make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”
“I’ve been to a number of briefings and I’ve always been provided a more upbeat picture than the one” depicted by the documents, said Representative James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat who opposes Obama’s Afghan policy. “The picture that is painted here is not pretty.”
Obama announced in December plans to send another 30,000 combat troops to Afghanistan, and Congress is under pressure to pass legislation paying for the buildup before taking its monthlong summer recess. Obama has said he will start to draw down U.S. forces in July 2011 and give more security responsibility to the Afghans, depending on conditions.
Polls show support for the war waning. Almost 6 in 10 respondents in a Bloomberg National Poll conducted July 9-12 said Afghanistan is a lost cause.
Also, 60 percent of Americans surveyed thought the withdrawal of forces should start in July 2011 even if the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable. The poll of 1,004 adults had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
The document leak constitutes the “the largest single unauthorized release of currently classified records — multiple times the volume of the Pentagon Papers” about the Vietnam war leaked to newspapers in 1971, said Steve Aftergood, director for the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy.
Arizona Senator John McCain, ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said, “We are finally beginning to address many of the problems highlighted within these leaked documents.” McCain generally supports the war effort, though he opposes setting a date to begin a withdrawal.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said she doesn’t believe the leak will affect support for the war-funding legislation because the group of reports “predates the president’s new policy.”
The Senate last week approved $60 billion to fund the troop buildup in Afghanistan and other needs. The House version, passed earlier this month after Democratic leaders used parliamentary tactics to push it through, included funds to help states avoid having to fire teachers.
The House plans to debate a nonbinding resolution by Representative Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, seeking removal of U.S. troops from Pakistan.
The documents show it is “indisputable” that “our nation has fallen into a trap of continued occupation and escalation that can only lead to more tragedy,” Kucinich said.
Motivation for the Leak in Question
Whoever leaked those documents is a national hero if it was done for the sake of disclosing the truth as opposed to creating a political firestorm. I suspect the latter. However, I am still glad the truth is out.
Parrots and Warmongers Speak
McCain and Obama are both warmongers. Neither is fit for office. In contrast, Nancy Pelosi is a parrot willing to say whatever Obama tells her to say. Parrots are unfit for office as well.
I think there is a good Saturday Night Live skit here, with Obama talking and Pelosi in a parrot suit repeating verbatim what Obama says.
Anyway, Afghanistan is a “Lost Cause” no matter how much more we spend or how long we stay. Does anyone remember the original mission? Here it is: To catch Bin Laden.
Instead of pursuing Bin Laden, we got sidetracked in an insane war in Iraq that did not need to be fought. So here were are, having wasted trillions of dollars, and all we have accomplished in 10 years is to make more enemies and wreck the economy.
Amazingly, we have a deadline of July 2011 to start pulling out troops, even though there is no clear mission as to what we expect to accomplish between now and then.
A best as I can tell, the mission is to start withdrawing troops in summer of 2011 (come hell of high water), nicely timed for Obama’s reelection ramp.
I have a better idea: I propose Congress pass a binding resolution this is 2011 and the war has been won. That way, we can start pulling out troops now and find better uses for another $60 billion dollars Obama wants to waste in Afghanistan.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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