Democracy Arsenal

« Foreign Affairs Portion of the SOTU | Main | Counterterrorism in the State of the Union: A Tale of Two Paragraphs »

January 25, 2011

The White House's Credibility Gap on Afghanistan Deepens
Posted by Michael Cohen

I've been watching State of the Union speech for for probably 30 years and I've yet to hear a memorable one - and tonight will not break that streak.

What a snoozer. Although frankly from a political perspective I thought it was actually pretty effective - makes Obama look like the adult-in-chief who is willing to work across the aisle with Republicans. But from a policy perspective there was very little of interest and it took all my energy to stop playing online scrabble . . . and in the end, scrabble won.

But then there was the foreign policy section, which actually wasn't boring . . . but instead blood-boiling:

We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.

Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.

I'm not sure how this could be any more misleading (or insulting with the obligatory 9/11 reference):

  • Training of the Afghan security forces is not progressing well or did the President miss the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan testify this week that our efforts on this front are failing badly.
  • Fewer Afghans might be under the control of the Taliban but far more Afghans live in provinces where security is deteriorating and in 2010 far more of them were killed in the war-fighting.
  • Building an "enduring partnership" with the Afghan people; somehow I'm thinking the part where Hamid Karzai today lashed out at the international community "for fomenting a 'crisis' by pressing him to inaugurate parliament" is not what he had in mind.
  • As for the notion that the Afghan government will deliver better governance . . the less said about that the better.

I'm a former speechwriter so I get that the President wants to offer American people a rosy view of the war - but nothing about how he described the situation in Afghanistan provides an accurate assessment of what is happening in Afghanistan. And there was no sense at all - beyond mere platitudes - of what troop withdrawals in Afghanistan will look like or under what conditions they will occur (just that they will happen, even likely in truncated form).

Two paragraphs of platitudes about a conflict being waged by 100,000 US troops is embarrassing and the lack of candor and public forthrightness from this White House about the war in Afghanistan should be downright scandalous. This Administration seems content to kick the can down the road and cede public diplomacy efforts to General Petraeus whose public pronouncements of progress are not even considered credible by other US officials.

There was once a time when I defended this president from the public pressure being placed on him by his military officers to escalate in Afganistan; but there is no defending him now - he seems tragically content to wallow in the same pool of generalities and misleading claims of progress about the war as they do.

*Oh and while I liked the section on Tunisia; the failure to mention anti-government demonstrators in Egypt kind of took the bloom off that rose.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c04d69e20148c802bfe6970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The White House's Credibility Gap on Afghanistan Deepens:

Comments

Some talk too much without saying anything! at least here I find what looks so clear and precise...

I stumbled upon your blog very interesting! ! A quick hello from a person who has always appreciated

There was once a time when I defended this president from the public pressure being placed on him by his military officers to escalate in Afganistan; but there is no defending him now - he seems tragically content to wallow in the same pool of generalities and misleading claims of progress about the war as they do.
seslisohbet seslichat

Nice blog, your articles and stories are very interesting thank you again.

There are a number of very nice points made here. Generally, I’m not really keen on information sites. then again, once in a while all of us should take notice. Inspiring, I am thankful to you.

it is a good article.

Very good article, I want to learn

Caviar Extract, for the human organism contains a variety of valuable natural nutrients. Using a high lecithin content, the consumption of natural collagen by the body and thus prevents the formation of cellulite. Vitamins and minerals in the complexes on the one hand brings life to your skin again. Conclusion: Tight, firm and elastic, skin and subcutaneous soft tissue structures.

Thanks , I have just been looking for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve discovered till now.

Mizuno Corporation is a Japanese sports equipment manufacturer, which was established in 1906. Nowadays, Mizuno
develops so fast that it gets large numbers of loyal consumers, especially those sports lovers. For example, the players who love tennis, football, baseball, skiing, hiking and cycling can get satisfaction from Mizuno products. The company also has expanded its operation centres opening new factories in Germany, France, China PR, Scotland and Hong Kong. What's more, Mizuno products are selling very well in the overseas market. If necessary, please seek for much more related information. (xu)

The carefully crafted image that you want to use this formula to do with the short term is now not far from reach.

Now that American commanders have their eyes set on "end of 2014" for when Afghan forces are "in the lead," as Petraeus wrote, President Obama's initial deadline of July 2011 to start withdrawals has lost significance. With that breathing room, Petraeus's strategy involves heavy military pressure, to weaken and fracture the Taliban, to entice certain factions to give up the fight. Some of his commanders are equally upbeat about the progress so far.

thank you so much ,i get something from you article.

The nomination of the winner depends on the capability and spirit of the personality to finish the race.I like the post very much as it contain informative in knowledge.I like pics of Chelsea shares of the beauty of running in Madison, Wisconsin.I want to congratulate the winner for the nomination race.I want to know suggestion from others.

Thank you for this article. That's all I can say. You organize the article very well and your writing ability is really wonderful.As an English learner, this post is a little too difficult for me to understand. I hope one day I could write such good articles. I hope my English will be better and better.

Very nicely written. Really makes think. Thanks.

Very nicely written. Really makes think. Thanks.

thanks for sharing your article, i am like that.

I love the imformation you shared , Thank you !!!

The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with,never say a word,and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.


It is quite important for all of us Americans to think about our budget and spend as negligence of

these things have caused worst times for us in recession.

Some talk too much without saying anything! at least here I find what looks so clear and precise...

There is a false equivalency that comes into play when President Obama insists on presenting himself as a "reasonable" mediator between two political sides.

Fighting a war with inconsistent policies and rules of engagement for its military is a recipe for disaster anywhere. Look no further than the US in Vietnam. That is not ancient history by any means, and yet, our memory is short, and history repeats.

Thanks for the insight. You are absolutely right.

We have gotten many great comments from our customers and earn a good reputation in foreign makerts, more than 90% customers are satisfied with our products and service, till now our online members are beyond 80,000. As of right now, we Replica Handbags currently serve customers from over 18 countries, and we are still growing. We really hope to expand our business through cooperation with individuals and companies from around the world.

thanks for article admin.

バーバリーマフラーマとして快適な、柔らかい、軽いへ。バーバリー財布排他的な織物、寛大な、エレガントな仕立て、古典的な格子柄、時代の快適なカジュアルな特徴は、あらゆる機会には、着用者のア
イデンティティと味を隠すことはできない。バーバリー アウトレット世界ではおなじみの名前となっている。バーバリーマフラー新しいドニゴールツイードのチェック柄のデザインを強調表示し、小さな
ラクダの毛のしなやかとバーバリーハンドバッグ素材、エレガントで柔軟なウールの代わりに。バーバリー アウトレット新しい時代のデザイナーの伝統的な正方形は、ブランドの新しい外観の現代的な古
典的な香りのトレースの分布に細工

エルメス、伝統的な英国ブランドの世界でお馴染みの名前の典型的なスタイル。グレートブリテン連合王国のエルメスバッの香水のポスターは、衣類の文化を保護するために、同じようにそれは、鎧をま
とった戦士のようなものです。エルメス財布新しい時代のデザイナーの伝統的な正方形は、ブランドの新しい外観の現代的な古典的な香りのトレースの分布に細工。エルメスバーキンの優雅さ、彼らはファ
ッションしようとして。エルメススカーフレッ広告、企業のアートディレクション、店舗の設計とビジュアルイメージ、エルメスおよび高レベルの女性と男性はプローサムラインを立ち上げ、過去の古い画
像を洗うのブランドを立ち上げるなどト。

Your article looks great!Thanks for you sharing. I love it. Your article looks great! Thanks for you sharing. I love it.

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

This weblog only allows comments from registered users. To comment, please Sign In.

Emeritus Contributors
Subscribe
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Email: 
Powered by TypePad

Disclaimer

The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use