Afghanistan

Petraeus Power

Amazing how David Petraeus can just crash through impasses and get his way. He’s even able to do get Hamid Karzai, who has boggled every other American who has dealt with him, to do something he doesn’t want to do–set up a system of local militias in rural Afghanistan. Karzai’s concerns are legitimate: the local militias would be more …

Building Immunity to Iocane Powder

NBC’s First Read has found a videotape of RNC Chairman Michael Steele at a Connecticut fundraiser (above). The audio’s not great but in it Steele seems to suggest that President Obama is responsible for the war in Afghanistan. “Keep in mind again, this was a war of Obama’s choosing. This was not something the United States had …

A Sin of Omission

It occurs to me that I had a lot to say about David Petraeus here this morning, a fair amount to say about Richard Holbrooke and very little to say about Karl Eikenberry, except that his relationship with Karzai doesn’t seem to be very good. Of course, that may not be a bad thing. Karzai is a disaster. But diplomacy is diplomacy and it …

Obama Changes Generals

By accepting the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal and replacing him with General David Petraeus, Barack Obama has taken one of the most decisive–and dramatic acts–of his young presidency. But while the fall of Obama’s top man in Afghanistan and the ascension of a military icon sometimes seen as rival to the President makes for …

Reading Through The Lines On McChrystal’s Fate

In his briefing today, which is ongoing as I write, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has made clear that “all options are on the table,” including firing Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Gibbs said that the president was “angry” when he saw the Rolling Stone article. Gibbs also added that “I think our efforts in Afghanistan are bigger than one …

Morning Must Reads: McChrystal

Official White House Photo

–You can read Rolling Stone‘s full piece on Stanley McChrystal here. The general and his inner circle were something beyond cavalier and insulted a lot of people, but probably the most troubling aspect to the White House is that the commander of American forces in Afghanistan brazenly impugned the …

Latest Column

The troubles in Afghanistan.

It appears that Andrew Exum, who has been part of McChrystal’s kitchen cabinet of civilian advisers, is thinking along the same lines.

Update: Max Boot disagrees, but it’s interesting: he offers zero analysis of the current predicament. Just blind faith that “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This …

The Insanity is in the Details

Dexter Filkins has an entirely depressing report about the complexities of life in Pashtunistan today. It’s the story of a warlord in Oruzgan province, which is just north of Kandahar, who is being paid by the US to provide security on the highway from Kandahar to Oruzgan. His private army also works in conjunction with US Special Forces …

A Bleeding Ulcer

One of the most remarkable qualities about General Stanley McChrystal is his remarkable candor…and now he has called the benighted campaign to secure Marjah what it is: “a bleeding ulcer.” The question is, why on earth did McChrystal decide to go in there in the first place? When he first arrived, the general questioned the enhanced US …

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