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Ear to the Ground

Petraeus Demurs on Afghan Pullout

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Posted on Aug 15, 2010
news.bbc.co.uk

Gen. David Petraeus responds to a question on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

President Obama may have marked 2011 on his calendar to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, but his commander there, Gen. David Petraeus, isn’t so sure. Withdrawal, Petraeus said in an interview with NBC, must be “conditions-based.” 

And check out this choice quote from an article in The New York Times last Wednesday:

“Their argument,” said one senior administration official, who would not speak for attribution about the internal policy discussions, “is that while we’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years, only in the past 12 months or so have we started doing this right, and we need to give it some time and think about what our long-term presence in Afghanistan should look like.”

—JCL

The BBC:

The new commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, says he will not be bound by a 2011 target date to start withdrawing US troops.

Speaking on NBC television, Gen Petraeus said he reserved the right to tell President Obama whether the pull-out date was too early.

He was speaking after US forces endured their deadliest month in July since the Afghan conflict began in 2001.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, August 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Its a grim observation that the only good manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are for military hardware and C3I.  I wonder when those jobs get outsourced.

We can’t built a washing machine but we can build a terrific jet fighter.

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By gerard, August 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Suppose the Pentagon has been gradually using wars to increase its influence in government and the economy has become dependent upon military expenditures, production and jobs, including jobs for soldiers to fight wars.
  Suppose, with a President from a party whose hands are tied by dependence upon corporate election funds, fear, and scorn for the “common people”, the Pentagon now sees an opportunity to further increase its dominance over policy.
  Suppose one of the two major political parties whose ideology is strongly oriented toward guns, white-Christian-supremacy, provincialism, militarism, conquest, America First, “How did our oil get on their property?” psychology, USA!USA! biggest-best-most powerful-freest-country-in-the-world-ism, “the American Century” etc. etc. supports (more or less unwittingly) the Pentagon’s ambitions.

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By gerard, August 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Suppose the Pentagon has been gradually using wars to increase its influence in government and the economy has become dependent upon military expenditures, production and jobs, including jobs for soldiers to fight wars.
  Suppose, with a President from a party whose hands are tied by dependence upon corporate election funds, fear, and scorn for the “common people”, the Pentagon now sees an opportunity to further increase its dominance over policy.
  Suppose one of the two major political parties whose ideology is strongly oriented toward guns, white-Christian-supremacy, provincialism, militarism, conquest, America First, “How did our oil get on their property?” psychology, USA!USA! biggest-best-most powerful-freest-country-in-the-world-ism, “the American Century” etc. etc. supports (more or less unwittingly) the Pentagon’s ambitions.

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By dihey, August 16, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

This article and some of the comments are the most amazing nonsense I have read in a long time. It was Mr. Obama’s intent and decision to send more U.S. soldiers into Afghanistan which has already resulted in a greater casualty rate. Does anyone believe that Mr. Obama will be satisfied with essentially nothing to show for it? How can anyone who believes that General Petraeus “is the problem” fail to understand that he is currently only the mouthpiece of the White House and that everything he states about “Afghanistan” has been calibrated with and allowed by that White House? Please stop perpetuating the classic nonsense of “good ruler” surrounded by “bad advisers”.
There may well be differences of intents and interests between Mr. Obama and General Petraeus but these are currently subsumed beneath the need to show positive results in Afghanistan. The problems will arise when these results will turn out to be so marginal that even the most enthusiastic supporters of the war may wonder whether all of this was worth the dead and maimed.

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By gerard, August 16, 2010 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Never thought I’d be quoting Nancy Reagan, but here’s one for you regarding generals as presidents:
JUST SAY NO!

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By dsmith, August 16, 2010 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not one time during the hour long interview with Israeli firster David Gregory did the topic stray into how many American soldiers have lost their lives, not did they discuss wounded soldiers. Since this topic didn’t come up, you can bet Gregory didn’t inquire about the innocent Afghanistan citizens who were murdered by drones and bothched missions. All in all a pretty sh##ty interview. What you would expect from a neocon and a bloodthirsty general.

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doughboy's avatar

By doughboy, August 16, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

It should come as no surprise that Petraeus opposes the Obama “troop
withdrawal.” No general or politician is able to define just what “conditions”
must prevail so that we can declare a “victory.” What started out as revenge for
the September 11 terror attacks has degenerated into a war of occupation. The
fear mongering about al-Qaeda that has Americans looking under their beds
for Muslims has grown tiresome. What actual numbers Osama bin Laden now
controls is under dispute, but his direct followers probably numbers in the
hundreds. The Afghan war is now not so much concerned about bin Laden as it
is about the Taliban. It is here that the propaganda thickens so as to elevate our
military “heroes.” The age old rivalries and conflicts within Afghanistan has no
weight in our imperial plans. Thousands of soldiers, thousands of mercenaries,
tons of bombs, use of high technology, etc. for nine years has apparently not
produced the right “conditions.” So, how will we know when we there? With the
billions of dollars that we spend on fighting “terrorism,” how do we win a war
against a NOUN? There is no light at the end of this tunnel. America’s leaders
have led us into a cul de sac and there is not extrication.

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By grumps, August 16, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

His comments clearly show who is in charge - not the civilian government but the military.
Welcome to our military dictatorship.

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By Hammond Eggs, August 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Petraeus will keep the Afghan war going until he retires as a 5-star general and then enters politics as a Republican candidate for the presidency.  The sucker who follows him as commander in Afghanistan will take it in the neck.

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By faith, August 15, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

Who is Patreus that he thinks he, and not Congress, not the President of the United
States, has final say as to when american troops will be withdrawn from
Afghanistan. 
It is time every voter in the U.S. unites to vote these awful warmongers and
opportunists out of office.  America has had enough of war.  We used to be the
good guys, not imperialists insisting that the world march to our dogma.  Obama
should fire Patreus, right now !  And any other General who thinks his word is law.

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By wildflower, August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Since one of the stated goals in Afghanistan is to obtain the trust of the villagers and to show them U.S. troops are there to help their citizens in regard to matters like economic progress, improved infrastructure and effective governance, I like to know how General Petraeus feels about what is happening here in America.

Clearly, all of the anti-Muslim sentiments being promoted by Republicans like Boehner, Palin and Gingrich in regard to NYC’s Muslim Community Center must be making General Petraeus’s job a lot more difficult -  if not impossible.  How can U.S. troops possibly make any kind of progress toward the stated goal when so many Republicans are undermining the kind of trust the troops and General Petraeus are trying to establish with the citizens in Afghanistan?

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By gerard, August 15, 2010 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Sick!  Sick!  Sick! 

Blood for stones!  Blood for oil!  Death for greed!

Read this BBC article carefully and if it doesn’t make you want to vomit, there is something very wrong with you.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, August 15, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Nine years, its over.

Time to let these jackasses know.

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