Archive for the ‘David Petraeus’ Category

Pentagon study: US should pare Afghanistan goals

February 3, 2009

A classified Pentagon report urges President Barack Obama to shift U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, de-emphasizing democracy-building and concentrating more on targeting Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuaries inside Pakistan with the aid of Pakistani military forces.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has seen the report prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but it has not yet been presented to the White House, officials said Tuesday. The recommendations are one element of a broad policy reassessment under way along with recommendations to be considered by the White House from the commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, and other military leaders.

By ROBERT BURNS and PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writers

A senior defense official said Tuesday that it will likely take several weeks before the Obama administration rolls out its long-term strategy for Afghanistan.

The Joint Chiefs’ plan reflects growing worries that the U.S. military was taking on more than it could handle in Afghanistan by pursuing the Bush administration‘s broad goal of nurturing a thriving democratic government.

Instead, the plan calls for a more narrowly focused effort to root out militant strongholds along the Pakistani border and inside the neighboring country, according to officials who confirmed the essence of the report. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plan publicly.

The recommendations are broadly cast and provide limited detail, meant to help develop the overarching strategy for the Afghanistan-Pakistan region rather than propose a detailed military action plan.

During a press conference Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted the ongoing “comprehensive reviews” of Afghan policy, but did not say when they would be made public.

The assessments, Gibbs said, are critical for Obama’s intent to “evaluate the current direction of our policy and make some corrections as he goes forward.”

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman would not comment Tuesday on the details of the Joint Chiefs’ report, but acknowledged that the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is a critical component for success in Afghanistan.

“When you talk about Afghanistan, you can’t help but also recognize the fact that the border region with Pakistan is obviously a contributing factor to the stability and security of Afghanistan, and the work that Pakistan is doing to try to reduce and eliminate those safe havens, and the ability for people to move across that border that are engaged in hostile intentions,” Whitman said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090203/
ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_afghanistan

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Getting Away With It in 2008: The Year That Was

December 28, 2008

All things change,” the Greek philosopher Heraclitus supposedly wrote over 2,500 years ago – but nothing like they did in 2008!

As 2008 comes to a close, almost nothing has turned out as was expected at the beginning of the year – whether we consider oil prices, the war in Iraq, political corruption or the collapse of the U.S. financial system.

By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times

– OIL: For much of the year, the price of oil skyrocketed; by July, it had reached $147 a barrel. Petroleum prophets warned us that it would soon top $200 – and that we should brace for a future of permanently scarce energy. Geo-strategists added that cash-flush petrol states like Iran, Russia and Venezuela would cause global mischief for decades to come.

Then oil crashed with the stock market in September. Even the infamous cartel tactics of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries haven’t restored energy prices. The money we’re saving could translate into a nearly half-trillion-dollar annual stimulus package for the U.S. economy – and the near-bankruptcy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin.

So, the year ends with politicians contemplating new energy taxes – and how to raise free-falling gas prices enough to encourage alternate fuels in a world currently flush with excess cheap oil.

– Iraq: 2008 opened with presidential candidates blaming each other over Iraq, declaring that the surge had not brought more stability, and accepting the recommendations of a staged withdrawal offered by the Iraq Study Group.

Yet we ended the year with applause for Gen. David Petraeus – and an admission that his surge and a change in tactics have brought increased security to Iraq. As of this writing, five American soldiers so far have been killed this month in Iraq; more Americans are often murdered in a single day on the streets of major American cities.

– Politics: The Democrats promised an end to the “culture of corruption” of congressional Republicans. Then human nature in 2008 proved more reliable than promises of reform politics.

So we ended the year with a surge of Democratic malfeasance that easily matched the former Republican Congress. Crusading New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace after disclosure of his junkets with a prostitute. “Hot Rod” Blagojevich, governor of Illinois, was caught on a wire discussing how to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Then there’s Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The sheer range of his alleged transgressions is shocking….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
dec/28/the-that-was-then-year/