U.S. Ambassador Objects to More Troops in Afghanistan

AWP

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Am I the only one who sees it as odd/ ironic that the guy lobbying against more troops was also the commander of all of Afghanistan during the period where the Taliban returned in force? Listening to this guy on Afghan policy is like Joe Hazelwood teaching at the Merchant Marine Academy.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/11/envoy-objects-afghan-troop-increase/

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. envoy in Afghanistan, a former Army general who once commanded troops in the country, has objected strongly to emerging plans to send tens of thousands of additional forces to the country, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry resigned his Army commission to take the job as U.S. ambassador in Kabul earlier this year, and his is an influential voice among those advising President Barack Obama on Afghanistan. Eikenberry sent multiple classified cables to Washington over the past week that question the wisdom of adding forces when the Afghan political situation is unstable and uncertain, said an official familiar with the cables. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations and the classified documents.
 
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7point62

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:doh:

I think this is just another part of the orchestrated PR effort by the Administration to counter McChrystal's request. They've been setting this up for weeks now and it smells to me like a prelude to a request denial and the usurpation of McChrystal's plan with the much-touted Biden-supported troop reduction plan (that they've had a woody for). I just think they are looking for the nearest exit.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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:doh:

I think this is just another part of the orchestrated PR effort by the Administration to counter McChrystal's request. They've been setting this up for weeks now and it smells to me like a prelude to a request denial and the usurpation of McChrystal's plan with the much-touted Biden-supported troop reduction plan (that they've had a woody for). I just think they are looking for the nearest exit.

I agree as well, I also think Obama is going to start looking for away out of the war...:2c:
 
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7point62

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I don't find it all that ironic that Eikenberry is on the anti-McChrystal plan bandwagon. He's got plenty of motive, both personal and professional, to want to take that course. Her can vent his sour grapes and suck up to his bosses at the same time.

McChrystal's plan (hey guys, this is what it's gonna take to unfuck this AO) calls for some escalation and committment, the two words, more than any other two, that are going to scare the piss out of liberal politicians who were elected by a coalition of anti-George W. Bush voters.
 

Voodoo

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US ambassador warns against Afghanistan troop surge

The US ambassador to Afghanistan has dramatically intervened in the debate about troop reinforcements, warning President Obama against committing tens of thousands of extra troops to the country.

Karl Eikenberry, a retired army general who commanded US forces in Afghanistan from 2005-2007, detailed his concerns in two classified cables last week.

Yesterday President Obama questioned Mr Eikenberry about his views by video-link during a meeting of his White House war cabinet, as he continues his lengthy deliberations on the question of troop numbers for Afghanistan.

Mr Eikenberry's concerns reportedly focused on the behaviour of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president recently re-elected for a five-year term in a poll tainted by allegations of systematic fraud. He is said to have questioned Mr Karzai's suitability as a long-term strategic partner, because of widespread corruption in his first administration and the presence of warlords and drugs smugglers in positions of influence.

The warnings are being seen by analysts as a shot across Mr Karzai's bows, as he puts together his government before he is inaugurated for his second term on November 19.

The timing and content of Mr Eikenberry's intervention has reportedly infuriated General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato and US commander in Afghanistan, who had asked for an extra 40,000 troops to avert a looming military defeat.

They also prompted a quick reaction from the Secretary-General of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who insisted today that Nato backed the need for more troops despite Mr Eikenberry's reservations.

Speaking after a meeting in Downing Street with Gordon Brown, Mr Rasmussen was asked what advice he would give Mr Obama.

He replied: "We are right now in an intense phase of consultation among allies and I expect a decision on troop numbers to be taken within a very few weeks so I think it is a bit premature to make any final judgment on troop numbers. Basically I share General McChrystal’s view, his assessment, his recommendation of a broad counter-insurgency strategy.

He added: "I have not made a final decision on the exact troop numbers but for sure we need to strengthen training and education of Afghan soldiers and Afghan police so we will definitely need more trainers, more education facilities, equipment and money to sustain an increased number of Afghan security forces."

A White House statement read out after yesterday's session was carefully worded to capture the administration's ambivalence about expanding its military commitment with a week and corrupt government as its partner in Kabul.

“The President believes that we need to make clear to the Afghan Government that our commitment is not open-ended,” a White House official told journalists. “After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time to ensure a successful transition to our Afghan partner."

The ambassador's intervention, reported today in The Washington Post, comes as draft lists circulated in Afghanistan of names of those said to be in line for posts on Mr Karzai's government. It is understood many of those listed are tainted by corruption allegations and are considered unacceptable by western governments.

Four options appear to have emerged on future troop reinforcements, but despite various high-level leaks it is far from clear which one Mr Obama will eventually embrace.

They range from a low-end option involving involving the deployment of about 10,000 to 15,000 US troops, mostly trainers to accelerate the expansion of the Afghan security forces, although such a move is not considered cost-effective by Pentagon planners.

The most ambitious option involves giving General McChrystal the 40,000 troops. A third course involves sending around 30,000 to 35000 and urging Nato partners to make up the shortfall.

The final option on the table, dubbed the "hybrid" option, would involve a surge of around 20,000 troops to reinforce major population areas coupled with a renewed counter-terrorist effort against al-Qaeda and Taleban targets in lawless tribal areas along the border with Pakistan.

Mr Obama leaves today on his first presidential tour of Asia, putting off for at least another nine days a decision that his critics say should have already been made. His press secretary says a decision is still weeks away.

Yesterday's war cabinet meeting in the White House situation room was the eighth since August specifically focusing on troop reinforcements. Participants included the Defence Secretary Robert Gates, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mr Eikenberry and General McChrystal both participated by video link from Afghanistan.
 

Centermass

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So my question is "Where was the Ambassador a month and a half ago?"

Seems he's a little late with this revelation. Wouldn't surprise me if it has an air of oneupmanship to it. :rolleyes:
 

LongTabSigO

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If I recall correctly, a portion of GEN Petraeus's success with the surge is attributed to the excellent working relationship he had with the US Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

They tended to report progress together to US Congress and the President.

Seems to me that this lack of synergy between military and diplomatic leaders is one large part of the whole problem we seem to have in crafting, communicating and executing a strategy for Afghanistan.

Thoughts?
 

Mother

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I disagree with the Ambassador's rejection of the call for more troops in Afghanistan.

I vaguely remember a news report saying that the Ambassador was in favor of focusing money toward bolstering the local clan/tribal governments as opposed to continuing to prop up Karzai's administration of the national government. The national government of Afghanistan has historically been unable to control much outside of Kabul. Given the cultural structure of this country, I tend to wonder if, on this issue at least, the Ambassador might be onto something constructive. I still think more troops are needed in the AO even if the POTUS takes this sort of strategy.

Free I'd be interested in your take on the above paragraph. I've never spent time in Afghanistan and I respect your opinions on matters there.
 

AWP

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Concerning the first British occupation of Afghanistan/ First Anglo-Afghan War:

All of this flowed from the festering problem that preoccupied and frustrated Sir William Hay Macnaghten. Getting into Afghanistan was one thing, getting out quite another. Calcutta and London insistently pressed for a complete withdrawal, and the East India Company repeatedly protested the high cost of protracted occupation. But should the British pull out, what might happen to Shah Shuja and his zenana? For his part, the returning monarch was wretechedly aware he was despised by his own people because his authority derived from foreigners, yet he knew if the British withdrew, his reign was in peril. Disquieting news came in bunches, all arguing for a prolonged stay.

Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, Tournament of Shadows, Copyright 1999.
 

x SF med

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... Mr Eikenberry's concerns reportedly focused on the behaviour of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president recently re-elected for a five-year term in a poll tainted by allegations of systematic fraud. He is said to have questioned Mr Karzai's suitability as a long-term strategic partner, because of widespread corruption in his first administration and the presence of warlords and drugs smugglers in positions of influence. ...

Ok, the current administration of Afghanistan is different from South American, Southeast Asian, and other Middle Eastern administrations/governments, supported by the US, HOW?
 
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7point62

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Eikenberry is basing his objections on the corruption of the Karzai government. He wants to make committment conditional to ethical behavior. In countries like Afghanistan corruption has to be accepted as part of the strategy. Corruption in the latest election should have surprised no one. There is no power on earth that will rid Afghanistan of corruption. We can't even do it in fucking Chicago. To poor people in 3rd World Countries, the important thing is how the government governs...not how it is chosen.
 

Trip_Wire

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Eikenberry is basing his objections on the corruption of the Karzai government. He wants to make committment conditional to ethical behavior. In countries like Afghanistan corruption has to be accepted as part of the strategy. Corruption in the latest election should have surprised no one. There is no power on earth that will rid Afghanistan of corruption. We can't even do it in fucking Chicago. To poor people in 3rd World Countries, the important thing is how the government governs...not how it is chosen.

I agree with you 100% It is a way of life in many countries to include our own especially in the large cities on the East coast. Chicago & New York especially!
 

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It sounds to me, like the ambassador is simply trying to light a fire under the Karzai gov.'s ass. Then again, I do have a limited perspective on things (simply a well read civie). I was wondering what the way forward is for Afghanistan. Part of me says, "we need to stay to honor those who have sacrificed time and blood, as well as the people we have befriended there" but part of me says "screw you, to the people over there who seem incapable of helping themselves, you dont deserve the best and brightest of the U.S.. you can fix your own damn country." not sure where that leaves me, but I know that there are better people than I making decisions that count. I can't really gauge America's opinion on the war anymore. Im just not sure many people understand it, me included. to anyone who has been there, Liberal or conservative aside. How much more should we (NATO) be willing to put into the conflict, while there are other conflicts brewing around the world? HOnest question, Maybe beyond the scope of this thread. If so, I apologize.
 
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7point62

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I think the Administration is looking for a cop-out and they will use Karzai and "corruption" as the reason for rejecting McChrystal's request. Huge mistake in my opinion because international terrorism thrives in a vacume.
 

Mother

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I think the Administration is looking for a cop-out and they will use Karzai and "corruption" as the reason for rejecting McChrystal's request. Huge mistake in my opinion because international terrorism thrives in a vacume.

Bingo! I agree.
 

AWP

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Others here have made the statement that slowing down the request for more troops was the financial side, paying for healthcare and whatnot. (JBS and some others I think)

Well, go give 'em some rep or something....and who said Marines don't think? :D

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/15/military-spending-weighs-obamas-afghan-decision/

Senior administration officials told the Times that the financial implications of more troops has become a volatile issue as the president works to push a costly health care plan through Congress and the government budget deficit is soaring.

The cost estimates of adding 40,000 U.S. forces and increasing Afghan security are $40 to $54 billion a year according to officials, and even if less troops are sent, the White House formula would remain constant at about $1 million per soldier.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I feel for the boys and girls on the ground in Afghanistan right now, I truly do… Political games should never be played at the cost of US service member lives. Have we not learned anything in the past 60 years?
 
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