Skip to comments.Helen Thomas: "Only The Beginning In Afghanistan" [WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES]
Posted on 10/08/2009 1:12:15 PM PDT by seanmerc
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has no plans to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. After eight years of war there, withdrawal is not among the options the administration is considering as it designs a new strategy.
Also not being considered is any exploration of possible peace talks with the Taliban, the indigenous Islamic group that once controlled large swaths of Afghanistan.
When asked whether the U.S. could withdraw from Afghanistan -- a country known as the "graveyard of empires" -- White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "Thats not something that has ever been entertained."
"I dont think we have the option to leave," he added. "I think thats quite clear."
Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. Stanley McChrystal -- the commander of U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan -- have indicated that the Taliban has the momentum and is gaining ground.
Eight American soldiers lost their lives in fighting at an undermanned outpost in Afghanistan last weekend. NATO said in a statement that the insurgents -- that is, the Afghan fighters -- lost 100 men in the same battle.
Obama is reviewing his war strategy in Afghanistan at a time when American public opinion is becoming skeptical about U.S. efforts there. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last month showed that 59 percent of those polled said they are feeling less confident that the war will come to a successful conclusion, while 51 percent said they would oppose sending more troops to the conflict.
Obama has been conferring with Pentagon officials, commanders on the ground and congressional leaders as he takes his time to make what could be the toughest decision of his presidency.
Obamas big dilemma now is to decide whether to approve McChrystals request for 40,000 more troops in addition to the 68,000 there now.
Another option -- one pushed by Vice President Joe Biden -- is to reduce troop numbers and instead rely on bombing and raids by Special Forces to keep any al-Qaida elements on the run.
Obama has been conducting a series of not-so-secret meetings to decide his next move. Somehow, the White House has managed to change the theme -- lawmakers emerge from their White House meetings proclaiming that Obama had ruled out a large reduction in troops. Nice going. The issue is whether to increase the number of troops.
In a speech in London, McChrystal went public with his position and was later slapped down by Gates who reminded military leaders that their advice to the president should remain private.
"In this process, it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations -- civilians and military alike -- provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately," Gates said.
I think its good to have the debate out in the open and for the American people to know what the stakes are.
The president has called the war in Afghanistan a "necessary war" and it behooves him to explain why we must pay such a human cost, not to mention billions of dollars to keep it going.
Are there any lessons from the past, especially the Vietnam War? Is there anything to learn from the experience of the Russians, who were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan in the 1980s, despite their high-tech military? (Back then, the U.S. was a big help to the Afghan fighters and other anti-communists, including Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi heir who later led al-Qaida.)
Where are the Pakistanis? They know the terrain. I thought it was interesting that the Pakistanis decided it was their fight, too, when Taliban forces reached striking distance of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, before being pushed back.
If Obama goes with the military leaders on the ground, there will be many more years dedicated to defeating the Taliban and to U.S. efforts at nation-building in Afghanistan.
I say we should pull up stakes, let United Nations peacekeepers try to stabilize the Afghan government and support it with a new, non-narcotics economy.
Come on guys, I thought I could get through a day without seeing that.
Not on my watch.
GOOD GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
my new screensaver...from HELL!
I’d hit that. With a stick.
She looks like an ostrich.
Helen better check with the White House, ‘cause they just said the Taliban is part of Afghanistan’s future.
Drop leaflets of these all over the place there and then tell them you will drop her next and more like her!
Heaven help us!
What has been seen cannot be unseen.
1. The Constitution/Bill of Rights prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
2. That certainly wouldn’t endear us to the civilian populace.
3. There aren’t any more like her (I hope)!
Well if we drop her she may act like a MOAB! (Mother of all Bombs)
Bless you. I nearly lost a year off my life on the first pic.
Send Helen to Afghanistan. The Taliban will surrender immediately.
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