Foreign Policy Blogs

Laboring on Afghanistan

It’s hard to believe how much Afghanistan is dominating (with health care reform a close second) the American media landscape.  The Afghan presidential election results, and all of the fraud claims surrounding them, are constantly changing, leaks from Gen. McChrystal’s ‘secret’ Afghan war strategy review are popping up everywhere, and poll results and calls from high stature folks to get the heck out of dodge are all finding headlines across the news world.  These issues, all juicy in their own right, have lead to a plethora of worthwhile reading on our dear ‘Afghanistan’.  Here are some items for you to keep Afghanistan on the mind during this Labor Day Weekend:

Right off the bat, I must recommend George Will’s ‘Time to Get Out of Afghanistan‘ editorial, which has really raised the ‘stay’ or ‘go’ debate to a new level.  He is a major voice on the right in this country and as polls have consistently shown, American conservatives are President Obama’s biggest supporters on Afghanistan.  If they start to drip away, Obama and American’s presence in Afghanistan is in serious jeopardy.

As was expected, Mr. Will faced quite the rebuke, mostly from the right, and the US’s long term presence in Afghanistan also got some much needed positive light shone on it.  I highly recommend all of these rebuttals by Max Boot, Christian Brose, Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Riedel.

FPA’s own Marco Vicenzino provides his own analysis of the Post-Election situation in Kabul and beyond.  Well done.

The Obama administration is still looking for a few good civilians.  Though the administration has taken some heat for the slow growth of their so-called ‘people surge’ in Afghanistan, it appears they’re starting to ramp up recruitment.  James Bever, the head of USAID’s Afghan-Pakistan Task Force, is “looking for officers and new professionals to assist us in what’s called the Provincial Reconstruction Teams… It might be in the health sector, it might be in engineering, it might be in rural, local government, it might be in education, or in economic transformation…”  It will be interesting to see how successful this recruitment turns out.

Here is video of envoy Richard Holbrooke’s latest remarks about the presidential election.  I, myself, haven’t had a chance to watch it all, but hopefully I’ll find time this weekend.

Apparently, the War on Terror may not be dead just yet.  Obama’s Press Secretary used the phrase in its former context when defending Obama’s Afghan strategy.

Peter Feaver lists some of the scariest things he’s read about Afghanistan, and concludes that what caused him the most concern was a McClatchy Report that featured a senior Pentagon official stating that he believed the Obama administration, and possibly the President himself, was not ‘fully committed’ to the Afghanistan war.  Feaver is rightfully concerned that if this is true than will be many troubled waters ahead, specifically involving civil-military relations and domestic support for the war effort.  Say what you want about President Bush, one knew where he stood on Iraq, he was full bore.  Does Obama have the same conviction about America’s military presence in Afghanistan?  This is a very important question.

In conclusion, here’s a picture of a Snow Leopard: