If this checks out – big if; there’s no guarantee that the reality will live up to preliminary reports – then I agree with Hot Air Headlines: whoa.
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
Last week former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reacted strongly to the White House’s allegation that military commanders in Afghanistan were denied troop requests under the previous administration. Actually, that’s too weak a statement: Rumsfeld denied that anything of the sort had happened under his watch.
Which, in point of fact, it did not: the administration was referring to events in 2008 – under Rumsfeld’s successor, Robert Gates (who is also the current SecDef, by the way) – and said events can be more accurately described as a ‘delay,’ not a ‘refusal.’ The requests were made by General David McKiernan.
When pressed on this, current White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs must have felt backed into a corner. After all, he was trying to justify the White House sneering at a policy implemented by a Secretary of Defense that the new administration had retained, and at the expense of a military general that the new administration had sacked. Gibbs being Gibbs, he took the opportunity to try to change the subject by sniping at Rumsfeld some more.
Because, of course, this administration is terrified of ever, ever admitting being wrong about anything. Sort of like what the Left pretended that the previous administration was like, only for real.
All of this is context for the response from Rumsfeld’s office:
The administration now claims President Obama was actually referring to denials of troops by his own Secretary of Defense in 2008. This is obviously not what the President meant. If it is what the President meant, he owes an apology to General McKiernan for dismissing him, for it was General McKiernan who sought additional forces in 2008.
This looseness with the facts seems to be a pattern in the current administration’s efforts to blame their challenges on their predecessors. Nearly one year into this administration, that approach is wearing thin.
My only quibble with that is the use of the phrase ‘wearing thin.’ It wore bare months ago.
There is a school of thought that says, Do not delight in reminding your extremist ideological opponents that they are being betrayed by their own. The underlying rationale is that doing so help make the people doing the betrayal appear to be ‘moderate,’ even when they’re really not. Given that said extremist ideologues will also still vote for their betrayers in the future, the argument is that pragmatically there’s not enough of an upside to mocking them for it. I respect the reasoning behind of this school of thought.
It’s just that sometimes I don’t give a tinker’s dam. Via AoSHQ, not a Photoshop or parody. This is real:
Speaking of watching, watch as the administration’s stance on Afghanistan continues to go [link fixed!], ever so slowly, off of the beam. The Telegraph reports that last week’s McChrystal / Obama meet was actually in reaction to the former’s comments on the situation in the Middle East, and that the administration is ‘furious’ about it. For more wincing over the implications, see Michael Barone, The Corner, Hot Air, AoSHQ, & Jules Crittenden.
I really don’t want to have to write this, but I don’t think that I have a choice: start the clock. And, a favor? Remember this the next time you run through your “How should I vote?” decision tree.
American Elephants hopes that the administration is delaying making a decision on Afghanistan until Tony Blair becomes the first President of the EU. The idea being, it’d give the White House moral reinforcement:
Now we all know Tony Blair has his head on straight about both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and resolutely so. Is Obama then waiting for Blair’s leadership to give him the political cover to send more troops to Afghanistan?
Well… it’d be both a good idea and a personally satisfying scenario*, so I think that nobody should count on it happening. After the President’s unforced error yesterday in Copenhagen it’s no longer safe to assume that this administration’s strategic planning abilities are up to even minimum standards. It’s much more likely that the White House simply doesn’t know what to do next. Which does mean that they might seize upon enlisting Blair’s support – but if they do, it’ll probably be out of desperation. Which means that people still won’t be able to assume that any forethought went into the decision.
Just the way it goes.
PS: “President” of the European Union for an unelected position may not be technically incorrect, but it’s a little eyebrow-raising. Why didn’t they just call the position “Premier?”
…(as can be found via here) is someone who has forgotten, or never knew, that the phrase “Not In Our Name” originated as a slogan against the liberation of Afghanistan. in other words: I’ve known for half a decade that the antiwar movement lies when it suits them, so I was hardly surprised when the mask slipped on this one.
Contemptuous, but hardly surprised.
In other news, General McChrystal is possibly threatening to resign if the White House doesn’t start listening for his requests for more troops. For the sake of pretty much… everybody… I hope to hell that’s a garbled report; mostly because I don’t think that the President has ever handled a situation like this before, and I have precisely zero respect for his ability to learn how to do things right on the first try.
While I agree with Tim Blair that karma is… kind of entertaining, sometimes… I think that the most important thing that should be taken away from this video is the frustration and worry in our soldiers’ voices as they try to line up a shot that doesn’t endanger either a kid, or some guy just walking along.
By the way: using kids like this is an actual war crime. I note this because those elements of the Left that are now calling for abandoning Afghanistan (a sentiment that I, like POWIP, do not share, and never mind who the President is) can always use this kind of moral and ethical calibration.
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI, called on President Obama to announce a timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. “This is a strategy that is not likely to succeed,” Sen. Feingold said about the troop buildup in Afghanistan.
“I think it is time we start discussing a flexible timetable so that people around the world can see when we are going to bring our troops out,” said Feingold. “Showing the people there and here that we have a sense about when it is time to leave is one of the best things we can do,” he added.
WASHINGTON — President Obama had not even taken office before supporters were etching his likeness onto Mount Rushmore as another Abraham Lincoln or the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Yet what if they got the wrong predecessor? What if Mr. Obama is fated to be another Lyndon B. Johnson instead?
Naturally, the NYT is mostly concerned with Afghanistan as it relates to American domestic policy – the idea that the situation might have either national security or humanitarian implications that might affect the decision-making process is carefully ignored – but that’s not unexpected. As the article itself references (but does not admit), the Left has never been interested in Afghanistan as Afghanistan: it was a convenient club with which to try to beat the (Republican) President with, and now that there is no (Republican) President in office the progressive wing is abandoning the illusion of caring, with happy sighs all around. Continue reading Obama compared to… LBJ?