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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.

By |2009-12-02T21:10:41-04:00December 2nd, 2009|Afghanistan, Military|Comments Off on Afghanistan and Obama's surge

What's going on – News Roundup

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

  • In a story that ties in with my own outrage over the chaos I encountered at the airport, airlines misplaced over 40 million pieces of luggage last year. One million were completely lost. This is simply unacceptable. If we only had a government that had the power of the people behind them, that government could put industry in a headlock and say, “Fix it!”
  • The Pakistani government has avoided a showdown with its legal community. Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the fired Chief Justice who was removed by President Pervez Musharraf, has been reinstated. Lawyers were protesting that the rule of law was being violated and it prevented them from practicing… law. I spoke with Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress about this issue last week. Check out the interview.
  • One congressman thinks that we have the power to get those AIG bonuses back. I would hope so.
  • Barack Obama seems to be everywhere and doing everything. The conservatives are saying that he is doing too much and needs to focus on the economy and nothing else. The American people disagree, which brings me to Obama’s $730 million plan to help small business. This is targeted to help small business get the credit they need in order to keep the doors open. I’m not sure that $730 million is enough, but it is a start. You know, it is sad when $730 million doesn’t sound like enough.
  • It is a great sign for Democrats that Meghan McCain is being attacked by other Republicans. Their line of attack? She’s too fat. Talking about running out of ideas. The Republicans are completely done.
  • Finally… was the CEO of Citigroup caught lying to Congress? On Monday, Reuters reported that CEO Vikram Pandit made over $10 million but he testified in front over Congress that he made just over $1 million. Now I don’t know about you, but if I got paid $10 million in a year I would know it. I would know that that is a lot more than a million dollars. Watch the video below.

By |2009-03-17T05:45:56-04:00March 17th, 2009|Domestic Issues, Economy, Pakistan, Party Politics|Comments Off on What's going on – News Roundup

What's Going On: Evening News Round-up

  • The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of charging Karl Rove with contempt of Congress.
  • A brief filed by the Bush administration with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asked the court to keep any challenges to the wiretapping law passed earlier this year secret.
  • New documents reveal that the state of Georgia actually knew about the “patch” that Deibold placed after the election. Cathy Cox, Georgia Secretary of State, inquired about the patch. This patch was selectively applied to certain computers just before the 2002 election in Georgia.
  • President Bush signs the Housing Relief Bill. Unfortunately, after further review, I’m not sure that it really brings all that much relief.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he will not seek re-election. He is in the middle of a corruption investigation that has marred his administration.
  • The CIA finally documents ties between Pakistan senior officials and militants. Many books, including Richard Clarke’s “Against All Enemies,” have already pointed to the Pakistani government as a problem.
By |2008-07-30T19:21:59-04:00July 30th, 2008|Domestic Issues, Foreign Affairs|3 Comments
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