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What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan?

Eugene Robinson says Obama's strategy is incoherent

(Newser) - "Show of hands: Does anybody really understand the US policy in Afghanistan?" asks Eugene Robinson in his Washington Post column today. Because he sure doesn't, even after hearing Obama's speech from the war zone earlier this week. His big question: Why are we still there? We've... More »

Marjah a Blueprint for Obama Afghan Strategy

Afghan troops outnumber NATO and US for first time

(Newser) - The current offensive in Marjah is not only the largest in the 8 years the US has been engaged in in Afghanistan, but the White House hopes it will serve as a strategic blueprint for the rest of the war. The administration has been stressing the differences between the Marjah... More »

Obama's Afghan Plan Won't Please Anybody

Which means that the president may have gotten it right

(Newser) - President Obama has assembled parts of different Afghanistan strategies into a whole that looks certain to displease just about everybody when it is unveiled tonight, writes David Brooks. The administration appears to have pulled back from its earlier enthusiasm for a comprehensive counterinsurgency—COIN—plan in favor of COIN-lite, Brooks... More »

US, Afghans Recruit Taliban With Jobs

Drive will be similar to the 'Sons of Iraq' program

(Newser) - Afghanistan has launched an initiative to convert Taliban foot soldiers with the promise of jobs and protection. Backed by the US military, the plan is modeled on its “Sons of Iraq” program; Stanley McChrystal even lured a key architect of that program out of retirement to help with it.... More »

Time to Act Presidential on Afghanistan

After 'yearlong drift,' Obama can't keep passing buck to Bush

(Newser) - President Obama loves to blame things on George W. Bush, and on Monday he did it again, referring to the “long years of drift in Afghanistan.” He must be trying to “explain away his own, well, yearlong drift on Afghanistan,” writes Charles Krauthammer . In March, Obama... More »

Karzai's Government Too Rotten to Back

Sending more troops won't work if they're protecting a tainted government

(Newser) - No counterinsurgency campaign can succeed without a good government to work with, and Hamid Karzai's operation is nowhere near good enough, writes Thomas L. Friedman. Karzai's government is thoroughly corrupt and his election victory deeply tainted, Friedman notes in the New York Times. Much of the insurgency is now fueled... More »

Congress, Military Question 'Protect Afghans' Rule

(Newser) - With US casualties mounting in Afghanistan, some members of Congress are questioning recent orders that have put troops at greater risk in order to protect Afghan civilians, the Washington Post reports. Gen. Stanley McChrystal recently berated the military for being “preoccupied with protection of our own forces.” He... More »

Biden Plan Would Target al-Qaeda, not Taliban

No consensus has emerged in White House war room

(Newser) - The Obama administration’s national security heavyweights have yet to reach any kind of consensus on a strategy for Afghanistan, the New York Times reports. Obama is considering both increasing troop levels to carry out his original counterinsurgency strategy, and an alternative plan from Joe Biden that would pull troops... More »

McChrystal: US 'Will Fail' Without More Afghan Troops

Blunt warnings bared in secret Pentagon report

(Newser) - Afghanistan's top commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal made a blunt request for more troops in a confidential report to the Pentagon last month, warning that without more forces the war "will likely result in failure." The 66-page report, obtained by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, contains repeated... More »

In F-22's Wake, USAF Embraces Cheaper Aircraft

(Newser) - The scrapping of the F-22 has sent the US Air Force into an abrupt about-face, Time reports. Newly installed officials are asking for 100 cheap, multirole planes that can attack ground positions and also be used to train other countries' pilots in their use. The aircraft must have a range... More »

In Afghan War, Human Rights an 'Operational Problem'

(Newser) - Guerrilla warfare is not, historically, a nice business. One Guatemalan general once described it as a protection racket, according to Christopher Dickey of Newsweek. You send a clear message: “We can protect you from the guerrillas, but the guerrillas cannot protect you from us—and you’ve got to... More »

Marines Launch New Afghan Strategy

(Newser) - US Marines today launched a major offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan that will serve as the first big test of a new American strategy, reports the Washington Post. About 4,000 Marines descended on villages and towns in the remote Helmand province. Their goal, however, isn't to wage war... More »

New US Afghanistan Chief: Convince, Don't Kill

Sketches strategy to mix troops with population

(Newser) - The new US commander in Afghanistan says his experiences there and in Iraq have changed his perspective on an effective counterinsurgency: “You're going to have to convince people, not kill them,” Gen. Stanley McChrystal tells the Wall Street Journal. “Since 9/11, I have watched as America tried... More »

US Bolsters Command in Afghanistan

Gates deploying top brass as part of structural overhaul of Afghan campaign

(Newser) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to dispatch three-star general David M. Rodriguez to Kabul to shore up military leadership, the Wall Street Journal reports.  Military officials say the move—along with the creation of a new task force—is aimed at ensuring "the Pentagon is on a war... More »

Go All In on Afghan War, McCain, Lieberman Say

(Newser) - Barack Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan must roundly reject the so-called “minimalist” approach being whispered about in DC, write John McCain and Joe Lieberman in today’s Washington Post. The minimalists want the US to focus on limited, “realistic” counterterrorism goals. But McCain and Lieberman remind Obama that... More »

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