Tag Archives: afghan government

Just a couple things on Tuesday evening

I’m trying to get a speech together for tomorrow. I know. I shouldn’t wait until the last minute. Anyway, I’m writing like a mad dog.

Today’s RoundUp is from Political Animal:

* Is Karzai threatening NATO? “In one of his sternest warnings yet concerning civilian casualties, President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that NATO must stop air attacks on Afghan homes immediately, or face ‘unilateral action’ from the Afghan government.”

* On a related note, Dems want out: “It’s more angst than outright anger, but House Democrats are showing real unity for the first time in pressuring President Barack Obama on Afghanistan — with influential moderates now expressing their impatience alongside the anti-war left that drove the early Iraq war debate.”

* President Obama visits Joplin, Missouri, and promises follow-through: “The cameras may leave. The spotlight may shift. But we will be with you every step of the way until Joplin is restored. We’re not going anywhere. That is not just my promise; that’s America’s promise.”

* While meeting with Joplin’s victims, the president was also seen inone heck of a photograph.

* Yesterday, President Obama marked Memorial Day with a speech at a service at Arlington National Cemetery.

* A shaky Sudanese deal: “Northern and southern Sudanese officials have agreed to a preliminary arrangement on demilitarizing the border between them, the African Union said Tuesday, though some officials from both sides immediately expressed skepticism of the deal, particularly its ability to resolve the dispute over the contested Abyei area.”

Syed Saleem Shehzad: “A well-known Pakistani journalist has been found dead after being abducted over the weekend in an upscale neighborhood of the capital and receiving repeated threats from Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency.”

* Gen. Martin Dempsey to replace Adm. Mike Mullen as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

* As more physicians leave private practice to work at hospitals, they’re moving to the left politically. But that’s not the only reason.

* The World Health Organization had said cellphones pose no public health risk. The WHO position has apparently shifted: “Radiation from cellphones is ‘possibly carcinogenic’ to humans, according to an international expert panel organized by the World Health Organization to evaluate the safety of the increasingly ubiquitous electronic devices.”

* Remember the Fairness Doctrine? A few congressional Republicans are still scared of it.

Daniel Luzer: “With cuts for America’s state universities getting ever more drastic, is it time for a new design for these schools?”

* Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is convinced gay and lesbians can simply choose to be straight. And if they don’t, he says, they shouldn’t serve in the military.

* Oh how I wish CNN were capable of better judgment: “Proving once again that there’s no standard by which many mainstream media outlets are willing to hold sloppy propagandist Andrew Breitbart, CNN this afternoon invited the discredited blogger on the air to discuss the Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY-D) Twitter story. “

Grab Bag Wednesday morning (Update)

Running late as usual this morning.

Rangers Win

  • I can’t describe how jubilant Dallas-Fort Worth is today. For more than 40 years the Dallas Cowboys have been the dominant team in the Metroplex. Finally, the Texas Rangers have won a playoff game… Playoff series! Congratulations to the Texas Rangers, Nolan Ryan and his amazing organization.
  • After what seems like a year, miners are being rescued in Chile. (CNN has a live feed.) Update: 21 rescued and 12 more still underground.
  • Judge blocks military from enforcing DADT
  • Bobby Cox, the long time manager of the Atlanta Braves, is retiring after this year. The Braves lost to the Giants in a great series. After the game, in what was one of the classiest moves I have seen in a long, long time, the Giants stopped their own celebration and tipped their hats to Bobby Cox.
Great move

From Political Animal:

  • Lifting the drilling ban: “The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the moratorium on deepwater exploratory oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — provided companies follow new safety rules…. One of those new rules is that the CEO of a company responsible for a well must certify it has complied with all regulations. That could make the person at the top of the company liable for any future accidents.”
  • Waiting for the Fed to intervene: “A critical mass of officials at the Federal Reserve appear to favor taking new actions to reinvigorate the lagging recovery in the absence of clear signs of improvement in the economy, according to minutes of the central bank’s last policy meeting.”
  • In Afghanistan, the plan to accelerate training of Afghan security forces is going reasonably well, but “the question now is whether these new forces will allow NATO and the Afghan government to reverse the insurgency’s momentum and begin reducing the Western presence in the country.”
  • As the debate over undisclosed campaign contributions rages on, wouldn’t it be nice if major news outlets care more about the fact that Karl Rove seems to be constantly lying?
  • As the Washington Post‘s On Faith section publishes a hateful screed from Tony Perkins on National Coming Out Day, it’s easy to imagine Katharine Graham weeping.
  • Health Care For America Now has a new video out featuring Jack Black as a professional “Mis-Informant.” It’s pretty funny, and worth checking out.
  • Do college dropouts cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars? Well, sort of.

You got anything to add?

Afghanistan and Obama's surge

President Barack Obama gave a fantastic, marvelous, thoughtful, middle-of-the-road speech last night on Afghanistan. Barack Obama, in spite of his critics, looks for common ground in almost every debate. This is why he became president. He was able to appeal to a wide variety of people. So on the Afghanistan debate, there are clearly two camps. On the progressive side of this debate, bring all the troops home, now. On the conservative side of this debate, we cannot leave until the job is done.

Barack Obama had to try to avoid some of President Clinton’s pitfalls. Remember, President Clinton lost support from members of the military extremely early in his presidency by pushing gays in the military. President Obama does not want to make that mistake. Therefore, he doesn’t want to be seen as upsetting the military by an early withdrawal or by taxing the military so much that it breaks (more than it is already broken).


Markos Moulitsas on Countdown.

Barack Obama chose the middle ground. He increased troop strength by 30,000 troops. (Conservatives cheered.) He set a timetable for when to get out of Afghanistan. (Progressive sort of cheered.) He set out specific goals. (The military cheered.) The president’s speech had something that everybody could hate and that everybody could. (Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took issue with part of the speech. Oh, that’s a surprise.)

Personally, I don’t know. I liked the speech. I’m not sure if he convinced me that sending in more troops would attain our objective. (Glenn didn’t like the speech at all.) It seems to me that a small reactionary force of approximately 5000 to 10,000 men could respond to any threat that the Taliban or Al Qaeda posed in the region. This force… will it be big enough to deter random attacks and small enough not to leave a large footprint in Afghanistan?

If we think that it is important to have a viable Afghan government which supports the Pakistani government in fighting the Taliban then there were a few things that I thought President Obama needed to say:

  • needed to establish a flexible timeline for withdrawal of US troops
  • the mission needed to be shared with international colleagues
  • Pakistan needs to be encouraged to continue its battle against extremists
  • need to create and fix the Afghan government
  • need to figure out how to pay for all this

For the most part, President Obama did these things. I’ll have more to say in the coming days and weeks. This weekend, on the radio show, I will be interviewing Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, talking about the situation in Afghanistan and the troop increase.