Obama’s Wars

  1. The Afghanistan War: Ten Years Later and Counting

    Published: October 7th, 2011
    Author: Mary Kaszynski

    Mary Kaszynski
    Afghanistan Study Group Blogger

    “Much of the goodwill the U.S. built up by liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban’s rule has been dissipated by mistakes made after the fighting died down.” - October 9, 2002

    Violence is still common – a vice-president was assassinated in July, another minister was killed in February and President Hamid Karzai escaped an attempt on his life last month – and though there is the beginnings of a government army, warlords remain powerful.” – October 7, 2002

    “Afghanistan continues to stumble along, barely one level above that of a failed state.”  -  October 5, 2004

    “Soldiers on the ground are eagerly looking forward to Afghanistan’s upcoming winter when, because of the harsh conditions, there’s normally been a break in the violence. In Afghanistan, unfortunately, there is always next spring.” – September 21, 2006

    We will read many stories similar to these today, the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. These particular quotes, however, are not from October 7, 2011. They are from earlier anniversaries: 2002, 2004, and 2006. Same story, different years.

    The fact that the news from Afghanistan is virtually indistinguishable from one year to the next is very troubling. It seems that for every small step forward we have taken two or three steps back.

    This lack of progress in everything from establishing peace and security to working with Pakistan is in fact responsible for the one thing that has definitely changed: support for a drawdown is at record lows. Nearly two-thirds of Americans want troop levels decreased. And only one in three veterans think the wars were worth fighting.

    The increasing support for a drawdown has been attributed to isolationism, lack of patriotism, and just plain pessimism. Actually, it’s none of the above. The real reasons behind calls for a drawdown are simple: we haven’t progressed in ten years, and there is still no end in sight.

    A Pakitstani reporter recently said what was on everyone’s mind when he put this question to former JCS chief ADM Mike Mullen:

    “I believe that we can stay in Afghanistan for a hundred years, and we are not going to resolve this issue. So when you look at American mothers who lose their sons, can you tell them honestly that it’s worth to give up blood in Afghanistan, the country that has become battleground between India and Pakistan?”

    Insanity, after all, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. After ten years of doing the same thing, it’s time for a new approach to Afghanistan.

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  2. Afghanistan Study Group Weekly Reader: $325 Million Dollars a Day in Afghanistan …

    Published: August 11th, 2011

    Yesterday Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post reported the resignation of Herb Richardson, the acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).  The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan is in charge of “ferreting out waste, fraud and abuse in reconstruction projects”.  This is the second individual to hold this post in a year.  Those difficulties aside, a little nugget was buried in this article, that may have been missed by most.  A democratic aid is quoted as saying “When we’re spending $325 million per day in Afghanistan, now is hardly the time to loosen the strings of accountability tied to each hard-earned American taxpayer dollar. …”  That’s right $325 million per day in Afghanistan.


    “Extraordinary Sacrifices”: We don’t need to lose any more of our precious resources in Afghanistan
    The Afghanistan Study Group by Matthew Hoh and Clarissa Griebel

    For almost ten years the United States has been in Afghanistan. On Saturday, our forces there suffered the single largest loss of life in one day.  Just a few weeks after the President’s announcement that a withdrawal of 30,000 troops would begin this year, 30 American troops were lost when Taliban forces shot down a Chinook transport helicopter.  In addition, to U.S. casualties, which included Navy Seal Commandos, one civilian interpreter and seven Afghan commandos were also killed in the attack.  What are we still doing in Afghanistan?


    Lawmakers question CERP funds in Afghanistan
    Army Times by Michelle Stein

    As Congress hammers out new spending cuts, a special emergency fund for commanders in Afghanistan has remained largely out of the limelight. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and others have continually pressed for more oversight and accountability.

    World fails Afghanistan despite spending billions
    Reuters by Michelle Nichols

    The global community has failed to create a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan despite pouring billions of dollars into the South Asian nation during a decade-long war against the Taliban, says the International Crisis Group. The Brussels-based think tank said the United States and its allies still lacked a coherent policy to strengthen Afghanistan ahead of a planned withdrawal of foreign combat troops from the unpopular war by the end of 2014.

    Copter Crash Highlights Fight In Eastern Afghanistan
    NPR by NPR Staff and Wires

    A U.S. military helicopter crashed early Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 Americans in the deadliest incident for U.S. troops since the war began. Seven Afghan commandos were also killed. Sources told NPR the Taliban shot down the helicopter as it was on a special overnight mission targeting an insurgent compound in Wardak province.


    Close to Kabul: Chinook Tragedy in the Tangi Valley

    The Atlantic by Steve Clemons

    30 Americans of whom 22 were Navy Seals as well as 7 Afghan troops and a translator were killed yesterday when Taliban fighters successfully downed a Chinook helicopter with a rocket launched grenade in the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province in Afghanistan.

    A New Tragedy and Old Issues in Afghanistan
    The National Interest by Paul Pillar

    The tragic loss of 30 U.S. service members and eight Afghans in the crash, apparently from enemy fire, of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan over the weekend elicits—as does any other prominent and deadly incident—attempts to draw larger lessons. The drawing is done from different angles, sometimes with an agenda attached. The Taliban, playing off the inclusion of Navy SEALs among the victims, will portray the shoot-down as a calculated reprisal for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, rather than as a lucky shot by an insurgent armed with a rocket-propelled grenade.

    Why Are Good Men Still Dying in Afghanistan?
    The Good Men Project by Tom Matlack

    I had just finished the harrowing account of just how we got Bin Laden in the New Yorker– including a Navy Seal who tackled two people he had reason to believe had suicide bomb vests on to save the rest of his team–when I got the first report of our largest single day death toll in the wars that have dragged for near a decade now. The New York Times reports:

    Why the Surge in Afghanistan has failed
    Afghanistan Headlines Examiner by Michael Hughes

    A number of prominent security experts have concluded that President Barack Obama’s troop surge has not only fallen far short of its objectives, but has left Afghanistan in a more violent, corrupt and dependent state.

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  3. “Extraordinary Sacrifices”: We don’t need to lose any more of our precious resources in Afghanistan.

    Published: August 10th, 2011
    Author: Clarissa Griebel, Matthew Hoh

    Mathew Hoh – Director, Afghanistan Study Group
    Clarissa F. Griebel – Afghanistan Study Group

    For almost ten years the United States has been in Afghanistan. On Saturday, our forces there suffered the single largest loss of life in one day.  Just a few weeks after the President’s announcement that a withdrawal of 30,000 troops would begin this year, 30 American troops were lost when Taliban forces shot down a Chinook transport helicopter.  In addition, to U.S. casualties, which included Navy Seal Commandos, one civilian interpreter and seven Afghan commandos were also killed in the attack.  What are we still doing in Afghanistan?

    We continue to make, in the words of President Obama,  “extraordinary sacrifices”, in Afghanistan.  Our national debt is at 14 trillion and change, the war costs us approximately 2 billion dollars a week, and we have lost 1727 lives with over 13,000 physically wounded.

    And what of the additional costs for caring for our wounded troops?   An unknown number of veterans suffer from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder and countless military families have been torn apart.  There are estimates that we will spend between 3.7 and 4.4 Trillion dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.   All of this, for a country that has a GDP of 15 billion dollars, and whose people do not want us there.

    In addition, according to the White House, there has not been an al-Qaeda threat from Afghanistan to the United States for seven or eight years.  We are fighting the Taliban who according to Paul Pillar of The National Interest:

    There is no end in sight to the violence in Afghanistan.  In the past twenty-four hours another NATO helicopter has made a “hard landing” in southeastern Afghanistan.  In the past month there have been several high profile assassinations in Afghanistan, including Kandahar’s Mayor Ghulam Haider Hamidi and half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s,  Ahmed Wali Karzai.  This year the civilian death toll in Afghanistan is at its’ highest since the United Nations began keeping track in 2007.  Given the seemingly endless and escalating violence in Afghanistan it is time for American troops to come home.  They are too valuable to be spent on a war that is not in our strategic interests in a country that does not threaten the American people.

    The special operations commandos and air crew our country lost on Saturday are the finest warriors the world has ever known.  They were men who readily gave their lives for their country without question or hesitation, as did the 255 other Americans who have been killed in Afghanistan this year.  As a country, we need to have the courage and the honesty to say that the United States mission in Afghanistan is not worthy of those sacrifices. We don’t need to lose any more of our precious resources in Afghanistan.

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  4. U.S. Adventures in Afghanistan and Pakistan: “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”

    Published: July 14th, 2011
    Author: Edward Kenney

    Edward Kenney Afghanistan Study Group

    Sometimes what seems like good policy at first can turn out to be a bad idea with the benefit of hindsight.  The support for Mujahidin leaders such as Hekmatyar and Haqqani seemed like a great idea in the 1980s when they were fighting the Soviets.  Now that these figures make up key parts of the Afghan insurgency…not so much.

    Or to take another example: the death of Osama bin Laden.  There is no question that this raid was worth it.  It eliminated the founder and leader of al Qaeda and potentially dealt a crippling blow to the international terrorist group, but few could have predicted the extent or speed to which U.S.-Pakistani relations have deteriorated in the wake of the operation. Mere days after the bin Laden raid, Pakistan had leaked the name of the CIA station chief and had arrested the Pakistani citizens who assisted the CIA in scouting the Abbottabad compound. Now even the doctor who helped collect bin Laden’s DNA samples has been arrested.

    The U.S. had hoped that the embarrassment of bin Laden hiding out in the same vicinity as a major military academy would prod Pakistan into taking greater action against militant strongholds in the FATA region.  Well…it hasn’t quite turned out that way.  A week after a “joke” (Pulitzer worthy?) article published in the satirical Onion quoted ISI Chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha telling insurgents the exact place and time for a joint U.S. operation, a Karen DeYoung report, (in the no-joke Washington Post), strongly suggested that Islamic militants had been tipped off about a IED factory raid by elements in the Pakistani military.

    Meanwhile Pakistani army chief Ashfak Parvez Kayani has had to fend off an insurgency from within his own ranks due to his “cozy relationship with the United States.”  Kayani is easily the most pro-American soldier in the Pakistani high command and the only one with training in the United States.

    So far the Pakistanis have resisted U.S. demands that it move into North Waziristan; but this doesn’t mean Pakistan is laying low.  In an ironic twist, Islamic militants are now using Eastern Afghanistan (particularly Kunar and Nangarhar) to stage attacks against Pakistan, and the Pakistani military has retaliated with over 700 rockets into Afghanistan.  The U.S. had no problem pushing Pakistan to go after militants in the FATA, but as soon as the army launched an attack into Afghan territory, the U.S. had to deal with the political repercussions.  Guess what?  Afghan civilians really don’t like the Pakistanis shooting at them, particularly when civilians are accidentally killed.   Is there a lesson here? Hint: The Pakistanis may have similar feelings about some of our missile strikes in Pakistan.

    Now the U.S. is going to try a different approach; we are going to cut off $800 million in military aid to Pakistan [1].  The Pakistani response has been both quick and predictable.  A hefty chunk of these funds ($300 million or so) went to forces on the Af-Pak border conducting counterterrorism operations.  The Pakistani Defense Minister has now threatened to remove these critical troops.  Beyond these foreseeable consequences, the future of Pakistani-U.S. relations remains very much uncertain and their implications for vital U.S. national interests remain in doubt.

    Unforeseen consequences are also playing a role in the other big news item of the day: the death of Ahmad Wali Karzai (AWK), the controversial provincial council chief and half brother to President Hamid Karzai.  AWK was called the “most powerful in Kandahar” and likely candidate to replace Tooryalai Wesa the current governor. Ahmad Wali was also considered one of the largest drug runners in Afghanistan and allegedly helped stuff the ballot boxes in the tumultuous 2009 presidential elections.  Indeed, he epitomized everything that’s wrong with Afghan governance-corruption, criminality and political exclusion.  Will things improve now that he has been eliminated?   As controversial a figure as AWK was, he was also strong enough to at least attempt to rule the province.  It’s not as if representative democracy will magically appear in Kandahar with his passing.  More likely a smaller weaker AWK type will replace him, and the violence will continue.  However, the true consequences of Ahmad Wali Karzai’s death will not be known for some time to come.

    [1] The final straw apparently was Pakistan’s decision to expel 100 trainers and other military personnel last week.

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  5. Our Plan Has Not Worked in Afghanistan

    Published: June 22nd, 2011
    Author: Matthew Hoh

    Matthew Hoh – Afghanistan Study Group Director

    As he was announcing his second increase in troops for Afghanistan in December 2009, President Obama promised that by July 2011 those troops would begin coming home. As relayed by Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, we know the president was skeptical about the United States’ war effort in Afghanistan. Now, as we review the results of that policy, we find his skepticism justified and his call for a drawdown prescient.

    President Obama announced his first surge of 20,000 troops in spring 2009. Pushing American forces well above the 50,000 mark and reinforcing a counterinsurgency campaign, he escalated a war entering its fourth decade for the Afghan people.

    Thousands of Marines and soldiers were rushed in, with the announcement that they were there to ensure free and fair Afghan elections. That summer, these troops found an insurgency fueled by resentment of their presence. Either because of hostility to foreign occupation or because our troops simply sided with someone else’s rival, akin to supporting just one side in a Hatfield-McCoy feud, 2009 became the deadliest year of the war, doubling the amount of American dead in 2008.

    Meanwhile, the fire hydrant-like stream of dollars, being pumped into the second most corrupt nation in the world , seemed to purchase only further grievances among the population against a government radiantly kleptokratic. When President Hamid Karzai blatantly stole the elections in August, American officials were forced to abandon any narrative of Americans fighting and dying for democracy in Afghanistan. Then, in October, the president’s National Security Advisor, Jim Jones, announced that al-Qaeda had fewer than 100 members in Afghanistan.

    However, given little political cover from the left, feeling little political pressure from the right and receiving nothing but a choice of small, medium or large escalation of the war by the Pentagon, President Obama in December 2009, ordered 30,000 more troops and billions of dollars into what soon would become America’s longest war.

    Predictably, by doubling-down on a policy that had proved counter-productive, betrayed our national values and failed to inflict damage on al-Qaeda, we went from being waist-deep to chest-deep in quicksand.

    This past year surpassed 2009 as the deadliest year of the conflict, killing 57 percent more American service members.

    Tragically, but unsurprisingly, 2011 has been even more deadly. Insurgent attacks from January to March increased nearly 50 percent from the same period in 2010, while American deaths from March to May of this year increased 41 percent from last spring’s totals.

    Nationwide, a U.S.-led campaign of night raids on homes has terrorized families, while a massive nation-building program funded by U.S. taxpayers has enriched a corrupt few and disenfranchised a poor majority. Again, betraying our own values, we looked the other way when elections were stolen for the second time in as many years. The number of civilian deaths are on pace to surpass the totals from 2010, the deadliest year of the war for civilians since 2001. The result: Eight in ten Afghan men now say the U.S. presence is bad for Afghanistan.

    Al-Qaeda has not existed in any meaningful capacity in Afghanistan since we successfully scattered them in 2001. Over the last decade, they have evolved into an increasingly flat or networked organization(s) of individuals and small cells around the globe that is most successfully attacked through good intelligence, international law-enforcement cooperation and surgical-strikes, such as the raid against Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Our Afghan war policy does not affect al-Qaeda.

    American troops killed or maimed in Afghanistan and others who have returned home with physical and mental injuries, increasing numbers of whom are taking their own lives, cannot be said to have made a worthy sacrifice. We must acknowledge to families that their losses did not prevent another September 11th.

    Moreover, our policies have destabilized the region, most notably in Pakistan, a nuclear nation with 170 million people.

    Indeed, President Obama was right to be skeptical.

    It is in the United States’ moral, fiscal and security interests to drawdown its forces and de-escalate the Afghan war.

    That drawdown should be significant — removing the most recent 30,000 surge troops by the end of 2011 and reducing to a total of fewer than 30,000 troops by the end of 2012. Combined with sincere political efforts in Afghanistan and the broader region, and by maintaining a focus on al-Qaeda, the United States can move Afghanistan and the region toward stability.

    Unfortunately, it is expected that President Obama will announce this evening a withdrawal of 30,000 troops over 18 months. Such a withdrawal, particularly without a change in strategy commensurate with America’s actual interests in Afghanistan, will only bring us back to where we in December 2009. Further, an 18 month long process will push the next decision point on the war to January 2013, effectively punting the war from the US’s 2012 election cycle. By not making significant cuts in our troops in Afghanistan and no real changes in our strategy, we will continue to be stuck in Afghanistan’s quicksand for years to come.

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  6. Suffering From a Case of Afghan Withdrawal

    Published: November 10th, 2010
    Author: Edward Kenney

    Edward Kenney
    Afghanistan Study Group Blogger

    Nancy Youssef from McClatchy News has just produced a real head-scratcher of an article writing that the administration is walking back from its commitments to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011.   Some of the highlights from the McClatchy Piece:

    The new policy will be on display next week during a conference of NATO countries in Lisbon, Portugal, where the administration hopes to introduce a timeline that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the year when Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said Afghan troops could provide their own security

    The original plan, as I understand it, was to begin a phased withdrawal starting in July 2011—with the pace of the withdrawal to be “conditions based.”  From this paragraph it is not clear whether the administration is proposing a complete withdrawal by 2014, a move which would actually impose a tighter timeline on the administration.  If I were being charitable to the Obama administration, I would argue it is attempting a two-step:  With one hand they are delaying drawdown next summer, with the other hand, presenting a more detailed plan for a complete withdrawal.   If this is indeed the strategy, it is a risky one.  By their own admission, conditions in Afghanistan are “unlikely to allow a speedy withdrawal.”  The U.S. cannot afford to continue waffling on its commitments, lest it lose what little credibility it has with Afghan people.  Reneging on the July deadline will also likely have adverse political effects given that war is already very unpopular.

    One factor that could improve conditions in Afghanistan and facilitate a speedier withdrawal would be an effort to reconcile Pakistani backed insurgents with the Karzai government.  Here again is the McClatchy piece:

    Another official said the administration also realized in contacts with Pakistani officials that the Pakistanis had concluded wrongly that July 2011 would mark the beginning of the end of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.  That perception, one Pentagon adviser said, has convinced Pakistan’s military — which is key to preventing Taliban sympathizers from infiltrating Afghanistan — to continue to press for a political settlement instead of military action.

    Pakistan thought that just because Obama ordered troops to begin withdrawing, military operations would soon end.

    It might be useful here to go over the rationale for setting a date to begin withdrawal.  The three reasons to set a timeline are:

    1. To signal to both the Afghan public and the U.S. public that U.S. does not have an open-ended commitment to Afghanistan.  Ideally this will promote public support in the U.S. for the war while diluting one of the strongest rationale for war:  that Afghans are fighting a foreign occupation.

    2. To pressure the Afghan government into providing security to the Afghan people.

    3.  To pressure Karzai into reaching a political settlement with the insurgents

    Point three is arguably the most important, especially since the development of a capable Afghan security force is, according to Robert Gates, several years away.  If the U.S. is perceived to have an open-ended commitment with Karzai, what incentive is there to negotiate?  This is literally the whole point about using timelines to leverage the Afghan government.  Now, we hear from Pentagon officials that timelines are no good because Pakistan might try to push for a political settlement.  As Robert Naiman from Just Foreign Policy puts it:

    What is striking about this is that the Pentagon is explicitly saying that from the Pentagon’s point of view, a political settlement must be prevented and therefore the timetable to begin withdrawal is bad because it was pushing forward prospects for a political settlement.

    It’s not shocking that Pentagon officials think this; it’s shocking that they say it openly. It imitates Robert Mankoff ‘s recent New Yorker cartoon in which a general says:

    “Well, I’m an optimist – I still think peace can be avoided.”

    Naiman also takes down the “blame the Republicans” argument presented in the McClatchy article.  Yes, the republican takeover of congress was a setback for those in favor of ending the war, but the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee was quoted by Reuters as saying he would leave the July deadline in place:

    Reuters: But the actual deadline itself, you’re not going to press for that to be changed?     McKeon: No. I think that’s installed.

    This makes sense intuitively.  Changing a timetable that has been set by the president makes the U.S. look either weak or untrustworthy.  Either way, such a move will not help the war effort.

    The question of setting a public timeline is complicated and intelligent people can disagree.  One drawback to having an open commitment to withdraw is that it disincentivizes negotiation for the insurgents who can “wait it out.”  Furthermore, having a troop presence in Afghanistan is one of the few cards the U.S. holds; some analysts have argued that we should try to exact some concessions from the Taliban before agreeing to drawdown.

    On the flip side, the U.S. is operating under several constraints, from budgetary costs to low public opinion, which are unlikely to permit a long-term troop presence.  The insurgents are presumably well aware of these constraints, so by declaring a timeline the U.S. is perhaps not giving up too much.

    Both views on timelines miss a broader point however: the military strategy aimed at securing population centers and bringing governance to the provinces is flawed.  The government is hopelessly corrupt, U.S. forces are seen as foreign invaders, and the Taliban can recruit at will from the Pashtun belt and escape into Pakistani sanctuaries in the event of military setbacks.  Continuing with the current strategy does not solve core national security issues such as al Qaeda (who are not in Afghanistan) and Pakistani stability (which, if anything, has worsened as a result of the Afghan war).  If ever there was a time for a fundamental rethinking of a war strategy, now is that time.

    Perhaps the most troubling passage in the McClatchy article is this one:

    What a year ago had been touted as an extensive December review of the strategy now also will be less expansive and will offer no major changes in strategy…”

    The president needs to rethink the Afghan strategy and pursue a real peace process; he must take advantage of the December Review and at the very least, get the Pentagon on the same page.

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  7. Obama’s Afghan war strategy: End it Bob Woodward’s new book sheds light on the president’s intentions. He clearly wants out.

    Published: October 3rd, 2010
    Author: Doyle McManus

    Doyle McManus investigates, “What are President Obama’s intentions in Afghanistan?”

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  8. “It’s Not the Numbers, It’s the Strategy.” Vice President Biden, November 2009

    Published: September 28th, 2010
    Author: Matthew Hoh

    Matthew Hoh discusses the frustrated decision making process that went into last December’s order by President Obama to increase US forces in Afghanistan by an additional 30,000 troops.

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    Published: September 28th, 2010
    Author: Matthew Hoh

    Monday and Tuesday’s front page stories in the Washington Post further detail the frustrated decision making process that went into last December’s order by President Obama to increase US forces in Afghanistan by an additional 30,000 (on top of the 21,000 additional troops that were sent by the President to Afghanistan in the spring of 2009, which itself was a successor to a 2.5 fold increase in US and NATO troops from 2005-8). Most importantly, we learn from excerpts of Bob Woodward’s recently released book, Obama’s Wars, that despite his direction and guidance to his staff, the President was provided with only one fully prepared option by his military advisers and, in frustration, ultimately decided upon his own course of action for troop increases and a time-line in Afghanistan.

    This revelation, that the President was not offered a thorough and complete accounting of available options and courses of action for Afghanistan, comes barely a week after both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal published indications from the Obama Administration that the review of the war by General David Petreaus, scheduled for this December, would not offer substantial debate or prompt effective change in the US’ current Afghan strategy.

    The need for debate and change is clear. US and NATO troop presence has increased five fold since 2005 in support of the counter-insurgency campaign; whose failings and counterproductive nature the President himself is shown to grasp, as summarized by Woodward and highlighted in Tuesday’s Washington Post:

    “ ‘What about the 25,000 U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan?’ the president asked. They had been there for years. ‘Where are they on the clear, hold, build and transfer model?

    They are still holding, sir.

    Any of them close to transferring?

    Not a single one, sir. ‘

    The model had become: clear, hold, hold, hold, hold and hold.”

    The conflict in Afghanistan has only worsened when the cost of the war to American taxpayers continues to grow and is expected to reach $119 billion in 2011. With each year casualties rise, the size of the Taliban grows, and support for the Karzai government diminishes. The strategy is dubious, has suspect effects on al-Qaeda’s worldwide operations, and a potentially destabilizing influence on Pakistan’s nuclear armed government. The Afghanistan Study Group firmly believes that it is in the best interests of the United States to have an open and public debate on our role and operations in Afghanistan. We believe our Commander in Chief should be provided with the full range of options and courses of action available to the United States in Afghanistan and the region.

    If this December’s review is nothing more than a repeat of last year’s incomplete decision making process, which amounted to nothing more than a rubber stamping the current strategy, while stubbornly resisting the existence of other options, then the United States and her interests, in particular our service members fighting and dying everyday in Afghanistan, will be done a great and harmful disservice by our Nation’s leaders, both uniformed and civilian.

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  10. Pakistan and the U.S. Exit From Afghanistan

    Published: September 28th, 2010
    Author: George Friedman

    George Friedman looks at the nature of guerrilla warfare and the evolution of the U.S. political goal in Afghanistan.

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