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Petraeus’s Baby

21 July 2010

Summary:  Even the war’s supporters paint a gloomy picture of the current situation.  Post by Don Vandergriff. 

Obama’s presidency is now being defined by four intractable problems:

  1. Persistent High Unemployment due to the intractable Great Recession
  2. a Financial Giveaway that protected rich Wall Street bankers at the expense of the masses who are suffering economically from the Great Recession the bankers triggered
  3. A BP Environmental Disaster that reveals the feckless incompetence of the Federal Gov’t — i.e., Obama’s Katrina Moment
  4. His enthusiastic embrace and expansion of the Afghan War into the AFPAK Quagmire.

Ahmed Rashid, one of the most knowledgeable observers of the AFPAK scene (and, ironically, a proponent of the AFPAK intervention) paints a thoroughly depressing picture the nature of the AFPAK quagmire in the attached blog carried by the New York Review of Books:  “Petraeus’s Baby“,  Ahmed Rashid, 14 July 2010 — Opening:

The surprising and speedy crash of General Stanley McCrystal has been seen in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the wider region as just one more sign of the mess that the US and its NATO allies face in what is looking increasingly like an unwinnable conflict.

The Afghan Taliban are describing the general’s sacking as a military victory—coming as it does at the height of their summer offensive; the most hurtful rumor going around Kabul and Islamabad is that McChrystal wanted to be removed because he didn’t want to have to take responsibility for a losing war. The Taliban claimed another victory when Britain announced a week later that its troops would withdraw from Sangin, a remote and ever more deadly region of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan—although they will be replaced by US marines. Out of a deployment of 9,000 troops, Britain has lost 312 soldiers in Helmand since 2005—of which some 100 have been killed in Sangin alone.

All of which has heightened anxieties that the US commitment to Afghanistan is rapidly flagging. In Kabul, there is a sense of growing panic about President Obama’s looming deadline for the start of a US withdrawal — now less than a year away. Pakistan, meanwhile, is contending with the increasingly real possibility of a gradual meltdown of its own, with the army and the political elite unable to challenge the rising power of the Pakistani Taliban or protect the civilian population. …

FM note

For Ahmed Rashid’s view of the Af-Pak war one year ago see Pakistan on the BrinkThe New York Review of Books, 11 June 2009.  Many of his assertions were contradicted by other experts on the subject.

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