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Aide: No More Troops For Afghanistan

From an ecstatic Washington Post:

Preventing Another Iraq: Key in Afghanistan: Economy, Not Military

By Bob Woodward
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — National security adviser James L. Jones told U.S. military commanders here last week that the Obama administration wants to hold troop levels here flat for now, and focus instead on carrying out the previously approved strategy of increased economic development, improved governance and participation by the Afghan military and civilians in the conflict.

The message seems designed to cap expectations that more troops might be coming, though the administration has not ruled out additional deployments in the future. Jones was carrying out directions from President Obama, who said recently, "My strong view is that we are not going to succeed simply by piling on more and more troops."

"This will not be won by the military alone," Jones said in an interview during his trip. "We tried that for six years." He also said: "The piece of the strategy that has to work in the next year is economic development. If that is not done right, there are not enough troops in the world to succeed." …

The question of the force level for Afghanistan, however, is not settled and will probably be hotly debated over the next year. One senior military officer said privately that the United States would have to deploy a force of more than 100,000 to execute the counterinsurgency strategy of holding areas and towns after clearing out the Taliban insurgents. That is at least 32,000 more than the 68,000 currently authorized

During the briefing, Nicholson had told Jones that he was "a little light," more than hinting that he could use more forces, probably thousands more. "We don’t have enough force to go everywhere," Nicholson said.

But Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. "At a table much like this," Jones said, referring to the polished wood table in the White House Situation Room, "the president’s principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan." The principals — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gates; Mullen; and the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair — made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson’s Marines.

Soon after that, Jones said, the principals told the president, "oops," we need an additional 4,000 to help train the Afghan army.

"They then said, ‘If you do all that, we think we can turn this around,’ " Jones said, reminding the Marines here that the president had quickly approved and publicly announced the additional 4,000.

Now suppose you’re the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel? …

Nicholson and his colonels — all or nearly all veterans of Iraq — seemed to blanch at the unambiguous message that this might be all the troops they were going to get.

Jones, speaking with great emphasis to this group of Iraq veterans, said Afghanistan is not Iraq. "We are not going to build that empire again," he said flatly.

Obama sent Jones last week to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to make an assessment and explain the president’s thinking.

As a presidential candidate and as president, Obama stressed that the Afghan war was neglected in the Bush administration. In announcing the first additional 17,000 troops on Feb. 17, Obama said that "the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan" and that al-Qaeda "threatens America from its safe haven" in neighboring Pakistan…

Jones said repeatedly on this trip that the new strategy has three legs, all of which he said had to be dramatically improved: security; economic development and reconstruction; and governance by the Afghans under the rule of law.

"The president realizes it’s on the razor’s edge," Jones said, suggesting not only a difficult, dangerous time but also a situation that could cut either way. "And he’s worried that others don’t." …

Remember how during the campaign Mr. Obama demanded a ‘surge’ in Afghanistan? That the Afghan War was a war we had to win?

That was then, and this is now:

National security adviser James L. Jones told U.S. military commanders here last week that the Obama administration wants to hold troop levels here flat for now, and focus instead on carrying out the previously approved strategy of increased economic development, improved governance and participation by the Afghan military and civilians in the conflict.

Note that this now being called “the previously approved strategy.”

So there never was going to be any meaningful ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, after all. All of those promises were ‘just words.’

Despite itself, this article does contain some actual admissions. Certainly the Obama administration wants to “prevent another Iraq.”

That is, they do not want us to win in Afghanistan as we have done in Iraq.

Instead, they seek to squander the money already allocated for the war in ‘economic development’ so that the Taliban will have a nicer country to run when they take over.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

21 Responses to “Aide: No More Troops For Afghanistan”

  1. marinetbryant says:

    It grieves me that Jones was once Commandant of the USMC. He signed my DD214(discharge) when he was a 1st Lt at Camp Pendleton in 1969.


  2. catie says:

    Marine, a friend from high school served under him about 15 years or so ago. He said he doesn’t recognize him anymore.
    Yeah, but what do they care. They gotta make sure they keep their lefty friends happy and the anti-war pukes don’t want be upset. Do any of these folks have anyone presently serving?
    BTW when my husband was in Iraq recently he ran into Jr. Biden. Said he was guarded like he was the president. It made him and everyone else he came into contact with sick. But of course he’s a regular war hero in that jag office and everyone expects no less than a silver star for this clown upon his return.

  3. pdsand says:

    “”This will not be won by the military alone,” Jones said in an interview during his trip. “We tried that for six years.” He also said: “The piece of the strategy that has to work in the next year is economic development. If that is not done right, there are not enough troops in the world to succeed.” …”

    That sounds exactly like Mr. Obama’s comments as a Senator when he famously opposed the surge in Iraq. It even has the same condescending tone. Imagine telling a bunch of military men what the military can and cannot do. That’s pretty great.

  4. 11ten1775 says:

    Well, we did get more troops over there. Obama did send the Marines he announced from Lejeune…
    I don’t have the expertise to know whether or not we need more, but we haven’t seen the full capabilities of the ones at Leatherneck yet. The problem is, they probably won’t be allowed to function as Marines, from what McChrystal has been saying, so what does it matter if they send thousands more? The metrosexuals in Washington don’t seem to understand what it is that Marines do. And they’ll be the first ones to put them on trial if they happen to act on their years of training.
    I honestly don’t think we’d need more if they were just allowed to do their thing (ie. shoot the bad guys, even if they run into a hut).

  5. proreason says:

    Think about it.

    Is The Moron going to fight to win in Afghanistan?

    Does he even want to win?

    imho, the only reason he sent more troops was to placate the generals and give the false impression that he intends to be a CIC.

    We know better now.

    I’m for getting our guys out of there FAST.

    If I thought there was any chance to make something good happen, I would have a different opinion.

    But I can’t cite a comment or a single action by this America-hater other than the initial set of new troops that would lead anyone to believe that the Moron has the slightest intention of protecting this country.

    I’m for saving the lives of as many heroes as possible, so they can be there for us when this Moron is banished from every holding a public office again.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      I’m with ya’ on this one, PR! 100%!

    • 11ten1775 says:

      I don’t know, PR… the whole “bring them home now” stuff never sits well with me. I don’t think it’s really your speed, either. I agree that they shouldn’t be there if they’re not allowed to actually fight this war, but they are there. Their replacements are already training. This isn’t going away, and our guys on the ground are fine with being there. They just do the job in front of them, and they don’t feel like they need to be “saved” from this stuff. That’s why they’re our country’s greatest asset. One you rightly want to see preserved, but that’s the dichotomy – they don’t want to be preserved. Even though our stupid president acts like the Taliban is going to stop blowing them up if everyone works and plays nicely with the locals, our guys are still willing to risk everything to do their job. Obama doesn’t begin to deserve the position he has over them, and I’m starting to wonder about our leadership within the military. Drudge has a link to a Washington Post article that quotes BGen Nicholson saying some interesting stuff. Not what I’d expect from a Marine (other than Jones). But there could be a lot left out – hard to tell what he was saying to 2/8 and what he was saying about his whole brigade. I’m with all of you here who contend that the current policies will cost us in blood, and I don’t know how Nicholson will sleep at night knowing that. I just don’t think the answer is to leave – it’s to do the job (fight the war) well. Anything less dishonors those who’ve already paid the greatest price.

    • bronzeprofessor says:


      I just got sworn in today and am ready to ship out to Afghanistan if I need to go. I am in one of the branches of the Army that almost always gets deployed. I want to thank you for your support.

      Proreason, I understand your point and I respect the fact that you have the interests of people like me and others who serve, at heart. I am willing to make great sacrifices so you have the freedom to exercise your free speech, so I salute you and say, keep provoking. You make us proud, even if I can no longer criticize Obama and I will probably have to go to Afghanistan, hopefully, with a servant”s heart.

      Best to all!

  6. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    No more additional troop levels so we can focus on their economic development? What economy? From what I’ve read and been told by returning vets is that a large part of Afghanistan’s money comes from heroin extracted from the locally grown poppy fields.

    Once again our ‘dear leader’ is overburdening our troops by saying no help is arriving. I wish there was more moral outrage about this from the high ranking officer corps. But instead of telling the troops ‘I’ve got your back’, they’re more focused on keeping their careers intact.

  7. canary says:

    According to Obama Afganistan was settled in one month. Obama already felt we lost Afganistan. What kind of commander risks his soldiers lifes and loss of limbs 24/7 to aid barbarians to grow more terrorists and heroin. Obama decided long ago, that we lost Afganistan. So, why did he send so many soldiers over there to get killed.
    Less chance of a military coup against a leader, or leaders? Obama just flew all these troops over into the most dangerous country, far more dangerous than Iraq, to slowly get killed off. Why not bring them home, and control our borders and the poppy drug cartels and muslim terrorist coming across our borders. Why not get that wall built? And he’s cutting defense, and the F-22 planes? Obama hates America for it’s democracy that has hurt other country’s. It’s manifest destiny was fullfilled by soldiers. So, if Obama hates America, he hates soldiers that voluntarily enlisted.

    Obama will not feel any guilt if our soldiers die and get killed in Afganistan, because he feels that it is in their genes. He has already done everything he can to demonize soldiers as a threat to our own country. Read what he says at the end of the below excerpt. “a coalition of the willing” Don’t forget Robert Gibbs worked for John Kerry before Obama.

    barack Obama audicity of hope 2006 the end of 292 to beginning of 293

    ~ With justice at our backs and the world by our side, we drove the Taliban government out of Kabul in just over a month; Al Qaeda operatives fled or were captured or killed.
    It was a good start by the Administration, I thought – steady, measured, and accomplished with minimal casualties (only later would we discover the degree to which our failure to put sufficient military pressure on Al Qaeda forces at Tora Bora may have led to bin Laden’s escape). And so, along with the rest of the world, I waited with anticipation for what I assumed would follow:
    the enunciation of a U.S. foreign policy for the twenty-first century, one that would not only adapt our military planning, intelligence operations, and homeland defenses to the threat of terrorist networks but build a new international consensus around the challenges of transnational threats.
    This new blueprint never arrived. Instead what we got was an assortment of outdated policies from eras gone by, dusted off, slapped together, and with new labels affixed. Reagan’s “Evil Empire” was now “the Axis of Evil,” Theodore Roosevelt’s version of the Monroe Doctrine – the notion that we could preemptively remove governments not to our liking – was now the Bush Doctrine, only extended beyond the Western Hemisphere to span the globe. Manifest destiny was back in fashion; all that was needed, according to Bush, was American firepower, American resolve, and a “coalition of the willing.” ~

  8. canary says:

    Now suppose you’re the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel? …

    We’d love for Jones to let us know how poor obama’s feels snif snif, but as far as those with lives at stake, I’d say their answer to Jones and his Obambi Highnass would be a show of middle fingers around the table and across the boards.

  9. bronzeprofessor says:

    I’m so confused. Help me out here.

    Jones says that he doesn’t want Afghanistan to be like Iraq.

    We invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001 (or started). We invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003.

    So it is a fact that we have been in Iraq about18 months less time than we have been in Afghanistan.

    On June 30, 2009, we “turned sovereignty of Iraq over to the Iraqis.” Iraq has a government, a constitution, a democracy, and 4,000 women who ran for political office. Iraq has an $80 billion budget surplus. Almost a million Internet users. We are close to “winning” in Iraq, so close we can actually turn over the cities to Iraqi forces and, in the measurable future, leave. That took 6 years to do, plus a few months.

    Am I wrong, or is Afghanistan not a mess??????? It’s been EIGHT years (not six), and their democracy seems, from what I can tell, nowhere near as developed as Iraq.

    If I were in charge, I would look at Iraq and say, “let’s treat Afghanistan more the way we treated that stuff.”

    And wasn’t the entire argument from Petraeus and McCain — an argument that proved correct — that you needed a surge of troops in order to do nation building and stabilize an economy? If there is no security across the country, it’s impossible to get business done; it becomes impossible to train an indigenous troop force, and nobody can develop the economy.

    So maybe I’m dumb. That’s possible. But it seems to me that if there’s a solid rationale for not sending more troops to Afghanistan, it is not the rationale provided by the National Security Advisor. I could see someone saying, “hey, we’re tired, let’s give up, al qaeda just feeds off our fighting with them, and we can spend more time on our border security.” I could see someone saying, “Afghanistan is inherently more unruly than Iraq, so let’s give up on developing their economy.”

    But I don’t get the argument that Afghanistan can get no more troops because we need to develop their economy, and we don’t want them to be like Iraq. That makes no sense.

    By the way, it’s midnight here in LA and in four hours the sergeant picks me up to bring me to the military station where I’m going to weigh in and, if I make weight, get sworn in. So soon enough Afghanistan may figure much more prominently in my life than it does now!

    • bronzeprofessor says:

      I remember when Bush was president, the common refrain from liberals was that Bush erred by packing his administration with yes men who wouldn’t challenge him. It seems like lately Gates and now Jones have been sounding less like themselves, more like the way Obama talks. I wonder if Obama’s making the same fatal error.

    • neocon mom says:

      “But I don’t get the argument that Afghanistan can get no more troops because we need to develop their economy, and we don’t want them to be like Iraq. That makes no sense.”

      Could it be that Obama wants to see Afghanistan fail in order to tie the failure around the neck of Petraeus?

      Godspeed professor!

    • bronzeprofessor says:

      Thanks, neocon Mama, I am just now returning from MEPS — it took 14 hours of processing. But I am sworn in — “I will defend and protect the Constitution of the United States” and all that fun stuff. I ship out on September 7. I guess it’s kind of cool that I was sworn in 2 days before July 4, and will ship out 4 days before the anniversary of 9-11.

      I think we can still do good work in Afghanistan, but we have to take a more decisive leadership role and stop trying to workshop everything there with our European partners. I am excited and honored to go, especially with the branch I got into.

      It was inspiring in any case to see the thousands upon thousands of Californians who are eager to join the armed forces now. Partly the economy, partly they really want to defend the flag. The one big change this means for me is, now, President Barack Obama is my boss, and I have to hold back from criticizing him publicly.

      (Do I still get to criticize liberals though?????)

  10. proreason says:

    “If I were in charge, I would look at Iraq and say, “let’s treat Afghanistan more the way we treated that stuff.”

    Good luck with your induction, Professor.

    The problem with Afghanistan, which Bush understands quite well, is that the country is medieval, and satisfied with that. There is NOTHING we can do that will bring it into modernity. It will not and cannot be like Iraq, which is probably the most modern of the Muslim states. The BEST we can hope for is to shut Afghanistan down as a staging platform for terrorists. And that doesn’t require hundreds of thousands of troops. A small force in a hardened safe environment can do the job.

    All of the rest need to come home, NOW.

  11. VMAN says:

    So can we say now “Obama Lied and people died”? The fact is everything that the left accused Bush of being Obama is. He’s a bumbling idiot, stammering fool, blatant liar and swaggering baffoon.

  12. canary says:

    I’ve been nothing but confused trying to understand this idots chapter the world beyong our borders in hope.
    It is so beyond belief in such hypocricy contradictions within his own words and beliefs. I chose the above excerpt, as it now seems to apply. His giving so much of the chapter that is full of falsehoods on his home Indonesia is scary, yet he doesn’t mention the heart of the terrorists, the reasoning behind the terrorists, that these are extremist muslims who truly believe they are doing allah’s work, period. They’ve made it clear to the entire world. This is a holy war. Our country violates the Quran to the max. The ownly, thing that makes me think Obama knows this is his speeches saying America is not a Christan country and we are a country of muslims and now America has a muslim leader. His speech is worthless, when the truth of America, the freedom’s we have, that we do not go around lynching and chopping heads off. They are all laughing at him. Is he just hinting to them, I’m the president now, give me time, and America will no longer be free. Already God is being wiped off the face of America. Our schools can teach muslim, mythology, but we are wiping God and Christianity from such as PBS has. Schools. We are bringing Sharia into our courts. I’m controlling the food, everything.
    What meanwhile Obama has picked Afganistan to aid out of all the poor countries. A country in cahoots with Pakistan. Instead of making it difficult we are going to make it easier for them to destroy the world? Not take over the world. These terrorists want to destroy. How does he explain his own mother, who wore the garb, and gave in to work for the white people in Indonesia to make more money. A difficult thing for her because she hated Americans and yelled repeatedly “they are not my people”. How can he live in such a country at constant muslim religious war, travel there, travel with his muslim friends to other middle-east countries while in college, and not get to the heart of the matter of the world threat by the extremist Islam. Yet alone, condone Palenstine like no one in history before him. He has repeatedly said he is lowering our defense, satelite systems, oh, finally a liberal admitted to me that is wrong. Obama believes the Cold War attitude only increases other’s countries to build weapons. So, when America is down to nothing, no border control, no military, no defense, then what the world is going to leave us alone. Obama cares for every country but America. America is the root of all evil. Obama wants America down to nothing, so that he can do the world order. It’s no different than Hitler wanting the supreme race. The muslims wanting allah and allah only. And Obama wanting the entire world. He believes he’s the chosen one. He has the means of going and living anywhere in the world and be safe. It’s all about him.

  13. canary says:

    The following is from a book called Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited
    By: Sam Vaknin, Ph.D I think it’s entirety is on-line. This is just one part I clicked on, and I think it shows so much insite. Obama was a very disturbed individual growing up. His bitterness of his father, bitterness towards whites, his poor self-esteem that made him lie and “live a lie” as he admits.

    There are two differences between healthy self-love and pathological narcissism: (a) in the ability to tell reality from fantasy, and (b) in the ability to empathise and, indeed, to fully and maturely love others. As we said, the narcissist does not love himself. It is because he has very little True Self to love. Instead, a monstrous, malignant construct – the False Self – encroaches upon his True Self and devours it.

    The narcissist loves an image which he projects onto others who reflect it to the narcissist (the False Self). This process reassures the narcissist of both the objective existence of his False Self and of the boundaries of his Ego. It blurs all distinctions between reality and fantasy.

    The False Self leads to false assumptions and to a contorted personal narrative, to a false worldview, and to a grandiose, inflated sense of being. The latter is rarely grounded in real achievements or merit. The narcissist’s feeling of entitlement is all-pervasive, demanding and aggressive. It easily deteriorates into open verbal, psychological and physical abuse of others.

    Maintaining a distinction between what we really are and what we dream of becoming, knowing our limits, our advantages and faults and having a sense of true, realistic accomplishments in our life are of paramount importance in the establishment and maintenance of our self-esteem, sense of self-worth and self-confidence.

  14. canary says:

    I’ve been told by some serving in Iraq that they only get to watch CNN, and say don’t believe a word they say. And it’s been demoralizing for all the troops. But, you know that we will know the latest, but do not worry about things here, because we will make sure America is the greatest country for you to come back to. I pray many many times a day for the safety of our troops and for them to come home. And I will add you to my specific list. Just because I pray daily for the troops to come home, doesn’t mean I’m against the war, it means I believe everything is possible, and more big bombs would be nice to drop. My sniper buddy is back from his 2nd tour and they brought him back to California this time. More training, and back to Afganistan this time. My neighbor is ready for his 4th tour, this time afganistan so some seasoned soldiers. God Bless you and protect you. Many angels surround you. Keep in touch with us.

    • bronzeprofessor says:

      Canary, Thank you — your words of support mean a lot. I won’t be going to Afghanistan for at least 6 months, since I am scheduled to get through various training programs first (including basic, then OCS, then training in my branch). But I have made it clear that I want to go to Afghanistan as soon as possible; I’ve been going stir crazy feeling trapped at my desk and knowing how people like your friends are going for 2, 3, and 4 tours while I’m sitting around talking about poetry. It’s always nice to know that people who oppose the president’s policies are still stalwart and showing support to those of us who have to put the policies in practice.

      Blessings and a great 4th of July to all!

      (Army Strong!)

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