Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obama on path to end Afghan war

President Obama announced that his actions will lead to the end of the war in Afghanistan. This announcement comes on the heals of the British directive announced by Gordon Brown and David Milliband—which we reported on yesterday. Let us now analyze President Obama’s statement about ending the war in Afghanistan.

Despite the bluster and possible temporary increase in boots on the ground in Afghanistan, the fact remains that neither the US, nor the UK can sustain the continuation of the war in West Asia. Three trillion Dollars and counting. Every new soldier costs $1 million to deploy. An additional 20,000 soldiers in Afghanistan will make a bigger dent in the budget than expected. This expenditure is hard to explain to the American people who are increasingly vocal about ending the war in Afghanistan.

Another surge is what the US army wants. This new surge will face an uphill battle in Congress. It will be a tough sell to the leftist corp. of the Democratic Party.

Britain's Gordon Brown is holding a summit which he bills as a “summit to discuss the exit strategy” from Afghanistan. He denies that this is an “Exit Summit”—but a conference that goes into the details of handing over the government to the top leadership of the Taliban—is an Exit Summit—no matter what euphemism Mr. Brown and Mr. Milliband use to describe it.

While Mr. Karzai’s wings have been clipped, negotiations are underway with the Talibs and Pakistan has more or less cleared Swat and Waziristan of the insurgents and foreign fighters, the next step is to bring the Iranians, Russians and the Chinese on board. Mr. Obama was doing exactly that in Beijing.

The Chinese hold $1 Trillion of US T-bills. They want the Americans out of Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan will end around 2011.

BEIJING — President Barack Obama said Wednesday his upcoming strategy in Afghanistan will "put us on a path towards ending the war" and that his goal is not to pass the conflict on to the next president.

Obama also declined to say he trusted Afghan President Hamid Karzai, offering praise to Karzai for holding his country together but saying: "He has some strengths, but he has some weaknesses."

"I'm less concerned about any individual than I am with a government as a whole that is having difficulty providing basic services to its people," Obama said in his latest blunt assessment of the Karzai government, whose competence is an essential part of a U.S. war effort now in its ninth year.

Obama is expected soon to announce a revamping of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is likely to send thousands more troops into Afghanistan to stabilize the deteriorating security there.

Many times, the White House has said Obama will reveal his decision in the next few weeks. Obama did so again in a series of TV interviews, saying his announcement will come by year's end.

Asked if his decision will end the war, Obama said: "This decision will put us on a path towards ending the war." Obama inherited the Afghanistan conflict and suggested he wants to be the one to end it.

"My preference would be not to hand off anything to the next president," Obama said. "One of the things I'd like is the next president to come in and say, `I've got a clean slate.'"

But there will be no drawdown of U.S. forces anytime soon. Obama has sought to repeatedly assure the world that the U.S. is not pulling out of Afghanistan, a case he plans to make to the American public.

Obama promised to tell the nation "in very clear terms, what exactly is at stake, what we intend to do, how we're going to succeed, how much it's going to cost, how long it's going to take."

He has a tough sell. Polling shows most Americans do not favor sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, details of Obama's deliberations and the views of some of his national security aides have appeared for weeks in news stories. The president echoed the concerns of Defense Secretary Robert Gates about those "leaks," saying he is probably angrier than Gates about them.

"We have these deliberations in the Situation Room for a reason, because we are making decisions that are life and death...," Obama said. "For people to be releasing information during the course of deliberations when we haven't made final decisions yet, I think is not appropriate."

Obama made his comments during his trip to Asia in interviews with NBC News, CNN and CBS News. Obama: Aim is to put US on path to end Afghan war (AP)

One of the most egregious statements made by President Musharraf and some members of the current Pakistani leadership is the opposition to ending the US war in Afghanistan. The statements were most probably coerced by the US Administration which wants a reason to continue the war. According to the hawks who want to continue the perpetual mimetic war in the Hindu Kush “The destabilization” of Pakistan has to prevented by the continuation of the insanity in Afghanistan. This is amazing illogic. The issues in Pakistan are a direct result of the bombing in Afghanistan. The creation of the new “Khmer Rouge” (TTP) in the New Ho Chi Minh train in FATA is a direct result of the war in Afghanistan. There was no bombs blowing up in Pakistan prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistanis had never heard of any suicide bombing anywhere. The attacks on civilian targets in Peshawar (denied even by the TTP) were unheard of prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan.

With the Pakistan Army ending the active operation in Swat and Waziristan, the TTP in an act of desperation will continue to attack civilian targets. This is because some of their masters reside in Delhi and other capitals. India is using the TTP as a bargaining chip to keep Pakistan from gaining a pre-eminent position in Afghanistan. It is getting nervous, because its main assets have either been killed or had to find refuge in safe havens in Afghanistan.

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