The First Draft: Obama Decision Time On Afghanistan?

October 28, 2009

AFGHANISTAN/The latest violence in Afghanistan may raise the drumbeat in Washington for a decision from President Barack Obama on whether to send more U.S. forces.

He’ll make remarks today at a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, and could address the matter there. Plenty of other topics are on the front burner, though, including healthcare reform and overhauling financial regulation, to name just two.

Senator John McCain, Obama’s Republican presidential rival in 2008, said the decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan should come soon. McCain told CBS television’s “Early Show”: “Overwhelmingly the military establishment and those who have had the experience of our success in Iraq know that the people there don’t want the Taliban back … and they want an environment of security. And we watch this situation continue to deteriorate while this long protracted process of decision-making goes on. We’re not operating in a vacuum. The president of the United States needs to make this decision and soon. Our allies are nervous and our military leadership is becoming frustrated.”

Afghanistan is clearly not the only focus of U.S. foreign policy concern. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan, pledging a fresh start in U.S.-Pakistani relations. Clinton’s visit came as a car bomb killed over 80 people in a crowded market.

Back in Washington, the struggle continues to get doses of swine flu vaccine to those most at risk. One top U.S. health official says the government may end up throwing away unused doses of the vaccine if people can’t get it fast enough.

And it’s raining. Again. Still.

One bright note: U.S. consumer confidence is on the rise for the first time since 2007.

Click here for more Reuters political coverage.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (Security forces around an international guest-house in Kabul after an attack by Taliban militants, October 28, 2009)


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Of course President Obama has to wait until after the elections to make a decision–after the US elections that is. He knows it’s wrong to abandon Afghanistan (again) and let the Taliban take control of the country (again) and sit back and watch the Taliban create a safe haven for Al-Qaida (again). But he is getting a lot of pressure from the types who think that allowing Taliban thugs to terrorize Afghanistan with no outside intervention is “peace.” We can only hope that not too much damage (lives and credibility lost) will occur while the US President waits due to domestic political issues and the desire to win more votes for his party. The people of Afghanistan deserve better.

Posted by sam | Report as abusive

Sam, I think you nailed it right on the head.I couldn’t have said it any better.

Posted by Glenn | Report as abusive

In all fairness I think McCain & Co are in limbo for they’re taunting POTUS to wait no longer and send more troops to the *undeclared* war in Hindu Kush.

If you don’t understand goings-on inside Kabul and rest of Afghan warlord-run hinterland based on ethnic fiefdoms, I suppose, you could be excused for naviety thinking US military can fix such local problems, if only 40K more troops were despatched urgently (McCain!).

It demonstrates how dum and stupid US military-industrial complex has become, since days of Eisenhower’s farewell speech. Wasting national treasure and borrowed (Chinese) money to fight a non-winnable war.

There are mountains of healthcare and jobs deficit problems backhome which might inevitably come to bite the hand that feeds the political elite and their henchmen in beltway.

Posted by hari | Report as abusive

This unusual and unexpected ‘anti-war’ Op-Ed allowed by the NYT may be the ‘Walter Cronkite moment’ for the Afghanistan War.

Much thanks to the NYT for publishing this compelling lesson of Soviet EMPIRE history today:

Op-Ed Contributor
“Transcripts of Defeat”

Published: October 28, 2009 n/29sebestyen.html?ref=opinion

Such advice and sanity today is better than waiting for the NYT to have to print the “Pentagon Papers 2.0″ later — disclosing that our deceitful ruling-elite corporate/financial EMPIRE knew the truth about the Afghanistan War’s trajectory all along.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

PS. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana

Posted by Alan MacDonald | Report as abusive

Obama shouldn’t worry about the fallen — they have already been sacrificed by this ruling-elite corporate/financial Empire of militarism and death, which controls our country by hiding behind the facade of its two-party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy.

Consider those domestically and abroad who have not yet lost their lives in the service of this non-democratic, murderous EMPIRE.

Unfortunately, Obama will probably not have the courage that JFK did in avoiding being pushed into more imperialist war by the Empire, its CIA and its military industrial complex at the Bay of Pigs.

But then again, Obama (slave to Empire) will not have to worry about being assassinated — and as Bill Murray would say, “So, at least he’s got that going for him”.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Posted by Alan MacDonald | Report as abusive

Military Option alone will never be able to solve the Afghan saga, ask the British. You need a genuine concern for the citizens of Afghanistan, help with the rebuild of the nation. Ensure the security of its people and the transparency of its government in order to succeed. I don’t even see the slightest indications of any of these in place. It is all Predator Predator Predator.

Posted by Lim Boon Chuan | Report as abusive