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Obama Buying Time With Afghan Surge

Measure more geared to buying time to revamp strategy on conflict

(Newser) - Barack Obama intends to sign off on a Pentagon plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, the Washington Post reports, but not because anyone believes this new “surge” will turn around the failing war effort. Obama’s team expects the move, which will nearly double US presence... More »

Bush Made Pact With This Man: Arab Sources

Iranian collusion may be behind the success of the surge in Iraq

(Newser) - Secret cooperation between Iran and the Bush administration may be behind the success of the Iraq surge, which has played heavily in "John McCain’s rise from the ashes," writes Salameh Nematt in the Daily Beast. Arab intelligence sources say such a “Grand Bargain” has been reached... More »

Petraeus' Iraq Strategy Is Ill-Suited to Afghanistan

Counterinsurgency expert may need to learn a few new tricks to quell Taliban rebellion

(Newser) - Gen. David Petraeus faces an uphill battle in replicating the successes of the Iraq surge in Afghanistan, Michael Evans writes in the Times of London, “because the economic, social and political conditions are so different.” Afghanistan doesn’t have nearly the natural, fertile resources, and neither the US... More »

US Doomed in Afghanistan: British Envoy

Leaked French cable quotes diplomat opposing surge

(Newser) - The British ambassador to Afghanistan believes “the American strategy is destined to fail,” the Telegraph reports, based on a leaked memo written by a French diplomat. In the memo, the French diplomat records statements by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles at a Sept. 1 meeting in which the British envoy... More »

Bush Pulled Rank on Military Over Surge

Joint Chiefs were pushed aside, new Woodward book says

(Newser) - In the months leading up to the Iraq surge, President Bush faced a revolt by frustrated Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward writes in a new book, The War Within. Bush dumped the military leaders’ advice as Iraq spun out of control in fall of 2006,... More »

Will an Afghan Surge Work? Skeptics See Trouble

Homegrown insurgency different from Iraq's: analysts

(Newser) - McCain and Obama rarely agree on foreign policy, but both are pushing for a mini-surge of about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan to rein in the Taliban. Will the Iraq model work here? The mountainous terrain, raging US suspicion, a porous border with Pakistan, and the challenge of telling apart... More »

Leaving Iraq, Petraeus Sees Gains as Fragile

Violence is down, but 'it's not durable yet,' says general

(Newser) - David Petraeus is leaving Iraq after 18 months, and by all measures the country is far safer than when he arrived. The "surge" of 30,000 extra American soldiers was bolstered by major domestic developments, from the Muqtada al-Sadr ceasefire to the rise of Sunni awakening councils. But in... More »

Forget a Surge: Afghanistan Isn't Worth 'Saving'

Don't waste resources, troops on a hopeless country, writes analyst

(Newser) - Barack Obama and John McCain have strong disagreements over Iraq, but on Afghanistan they agree: a troop surge is necessary. Nearly 60% of Americans agree, as does the defense secretary, Robert Gates. There's just one problem, writes Bartle Breese Bull in the New York Times: even with a costly surge,... More »

Brzezinski Down on Idea of Afghan 'Surge'

Security expert: McCain camp on path to world war

(Newser) - The presidential candidates seem to agree that Afghanistan needs a troop surge, but Zbigniew Brzezinski doesn’t. Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, now a Barack Obama backer, says he's concerned that the US is “literally running the risk of unintentionally doing what the Russians did,” and being... More »

McCain: I Didn't Mix Up Surge Timeline

Counterinsurgency tactic began before it began, he says

(Newser) - John McCain insists that he did, indeed, have his facts straight when he said Tuesday that the US troop surge had made the Sunni Awakening movement possible. Barack Obama’s camp was quick to point out that Sunni tribesman had begun their revolt against al-Qaeda months before Bush announced his... More »

'Foolish Consistency' Mars Obama Iraq Plan

He must be more flexible on his withdrawal strategy

(Newser) - The editors of the Washington Post are rankled that Barack Obama has the same position on exiting Iraq now—“with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began”—as he did a year ago, “at the war’s peak.” His "iron timetable" of a... More »

McCain Adopts Obama's Afghanistan Position

Stance on US vs. NATO troops appears to soften

(Newser) - John McCain suddenly switched both schedule and policy today, transforming a speech about jobs into one on Afghanistan, and echoing Barack Obama's argument for sending in new brigades. Obama has long said more troops are needed in Afghanistan, but McCain has repeatedly contended that NATO should pick up the slack,... More »

Obama's 'Modest But Real Step' Makes Good Iraq Sense

Sticking to withdrawal policy ignores facts on the ground

(Newser) - Charging that the Democrat's position had become “outdated,” the Washington Post editorial board applauds Barack Obama’s recent promise to “refine” his Iraq policy after consulting with commanders. His previous “strident and rigid posture”—that all combat forces be withdrawn during his first 16 months... More »

McCain Wins the Week as Obama Misfires

Mark Halperin sizes up the latest skirmishes

(Newser) - Score this week for John McCain, writes Mark Halperin in Time. "McCain's week wasn't particularly good, but Obama's was dreadful by comparison." Here’s how it adds up:
  • Image: McCain’s goal is to make Obama look “like an ordinary politician.” Barack helped with one of
... More »

Obama Must Talk Iraq; Here's How

Democrat must set out goals—and underline what separates him from McCain

(Newser) - Barack Obama may be on the right side of the Iraq issue, Fareed Zakaria writes in Newsweek, but does he want to be “prescient about the war in 2002 and yet … overtaken by events in 2008?” The Democrat needs to detail an earnest plan, and Zakaria has a... More »

Army's Role in Iraq Turning Personal

Troops 'all but qualify for Iraqi citizenship,' for better or worse

(Newser) - After five years of war, the US military is enmeshed in virtually all aspects of Iraqi life—a common development in such engagements but one that can prove to be a double-edged sword for military efficiency, writes Lawrence Kaplan in the policy forum Bitter Lemons. "American units slowly melt... More »

Bush Sees Success as Iraq War Turns 5

Bush says the war must be won

(Newser) - On the fifth anniversary of launching the shock-and-awe assault that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, President Bush will make a major speech at the Pentagon today, CNN reports. In excerpts from the speech he acknowledges that "the fight in Iraq was faltering," but praises the progress in... More »

Baghdad Blast Kills 5 US Troops

Leader of Sunni Awakening killed in separate suicide attack

(Newser) - Five American troops are dead after a suicide bomber struck today in the Mansour district of Baghdad, the BBC reports. The soldiers were patrolling a busy shopping center when a young man wearing an explosive vest engaged them in conversation shortly before detonating, said a military spokesman. Three other service... More »

Baghdad Bombs Claim 54

Reversal in trend of increasing security, as US announce troop reduction

(Newser) - Twin bomb blasts claimed 54 lives and wounded 130 in a Baghdad shopping center today, BBC News reports. Two roadside bombs timed to detonate within minutes of each other exploded in a shopping center in Karada district, leaving survivors holding body parts and searching for loved ones. Violence in Iraq... More »

8,000 Surge Troops to Stay Put

More than a quarter of surge troops ordered to stick it out

(Newser) - More than a quarter of the extra troops sent to Iraq during the surge will stay in the war zone and not return to the US this summer as previously planned, the Pentagon has revealed. Some 8,000 of the 30,000 surge troops—including helicopter crews, supply units, headquarters... More »

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