Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

To send or not to send…


Here’s a transcript of an interview with Senator John Kerry on US policy in Afghanistan from the PBS news show The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.  Margaret Warner conducted the interview on October 26 with the influential Democrat after he had delivered a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.

Some pundits have suggested that Kerry, who chairs the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, is ‘running cover’ for President Barack Obama in case the President decides not to meet General Stanley McChrystal’s demand to send more troops to Afghanistan.  





Warner:         Senator Kerry, thanks for joining us. You said in your speech today that General McChrystal’s plan goes too far too fast. Are you talking about the troop levels or his basic overall strategy of counter insurgence.

Kerry:            The breadth of the reach of the counter insurgency that he wants to start with that the numbers of troops can do it immediately. That doesn’t mean you might not get there ultimately, Margaret, but I think you’ve got to show people like me and others that we have the civilian capacity to come in underneath those troops and the governance that’s going to allow us to hold on and the Afghan army members who will be in there with you so it’s not an American face, it’s an Afghan movement immediately. I think those three ingredients are critical and we just don’t have that sufficiently there to say, oh boy, let’s just go deploy this number of troops now.

from Tales from the Trail:

Holbrooke jokes about Kerry’s Karzai eclipse


Power plays are always a tricky business in Washington and sometimes it's better to make a joke out of it. Or not.

Special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, used that tactic on Friday when asked about reports that veteran Senator John Kerry is stealing his limelight.