Morning Must Reads: Sunny

Defense Secretary Robert Gates boards a C-17 after visiting U.S. troops at Forward Operating Base Howz-E-Madad in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan December 8, 2010. (REUTERS/Win McNamee)

–The Senate begins debate on Obama’s tax compromise today and Dems there are beginning to thaw. House Dems not so much; some

Trouble with Karzai

Ahmed Rashid, the Pakistani journalist who knows Afghanistan better than anyone, has scored a disturbing interview with Hamid Karzai, in which the Afghan leader really does seem to be getting tired of the American military strategy–specifically, the special operations night raids targeting Taliban leaders, which have been the most …

“De-scoping” Afghanistan

On Sunday McClatchy dropped its months-long investigation of U.S. construction projects in Afghanistan. The picture is not pretty and an unsettling metaphor for the nine-year war effort emerges:

A McClatchy investigation has found that since January 2008, nearly $200 million in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction projects in

Morning Must Reads: Last Stand

Meg Whitman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown appear at the Women’s Conference 2010 in Long Beach, California on October 26. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

–At the nifty new National Journal, Jeremy Jacobs reports the DCCC is making its last stand for the House, dumping $21.6 million on airtime in 66 districts. That includes a …

What’s Happening in Afghanistan?

Dexter Filkins has a fascinating, if confusing, piece today about the negotiations that have begun between the Karzai government and high-level elements of the Taliban…but not including the highest-level element, Mullah Omar. What is unclear is whether Omar–who has been “cut out” of the negotiations–has authorized his deputies to …

Some Good News

Iran is participating in the Afghan contact group talks in Rome. There is precedent for this: Iran participated in the Bonn talks that created a new Afghan government in 2001–to good effect, I’m told. That might have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but the Bush Administration was more interested in constructing an Axis of

Afghanistan: A New Balance

The long-awaited battle for Kandahar Province has begun and Time’s Jason Motlagh is there, at the heart of the fight in the same Zhari district where I embedded last April. There is a larger story here, about a change in emphasis by General David Petraeus, from counterinsurgency toward counterterrorism, that Fred Kaplan laid out here

Morning Must Reads: Pledge

President Obama speaks during the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

–As Alex notes, House Republicans have unveiled their new governing platform a la 1994’s Contract With America. Chris Good pulls out some bullet-points. Marc Ambinder thinks it …

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