November 19, 2010 |
President Obama arrived here this morning for two days of meetings with NATO allies as they craft a new plan for the war in Afghanistan and seek a new mission statement that will keep them relevant in the 21st century. After a lengthy trip to expand American trade opportunities in Asia last week, Obama turned around immediately for a trip to reassure friends in Europe that their shared security and economic concerns are also a top priority. The focus for the weekend is forming the NATO plan to begin turning security responsibility for Afghanistan over to local forces this year, a long-term process that Obama now acknowledges will probably last into 2014.
November 18, 2010 |
What NATO talks about when it talks about Afghanistan depends largely on who's listening. A series of carefully calibrated messages on the direction of the 9-year-old war, each aimed at a different audience, will emanate from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit beginning Friday in Lisbon. To a war-weary European constituency: There's an exit strategy. To a conflicted American public, whose troops are bearing the brunt of rising battlefield casualties: Things are going better militarily, but it will still take some time.
November 3, 2010
Just two years ago, the world watched with fascination as Americans elected their first African American president, who raised expectations with promises of a new direction in how U.S. power was projected abroad. But a ramped-up war in Afghanistan, stumbling attempts to broker peace in the Middle East and sharper clashes with China over the global economy have led to a widespread sense of letdown over Barack Obama's presidency. This week's midterm elections with their overwhelming focus on U.S. domestic issues predictably aroused much less interest outside the United States, despite curiosity about the "tea party" phenomenon.
October 3, 2010 |
What are President Obama's intentions in Afghanistan? He told us 10 months ago, at the conclusion of an agonizing, weeks-long strategy debate, that he would give his generals the 33,000 additional troops they wanted and 18 months to show what they could do with them. Then we would begin drawing down. But did he mean it? Bob Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars," for all its reconstructed conversations and unspecified sourcing, is at its most useful in helping answer that question.
September 27, 2010 |
The essential outline of the story journalist and political historian Bob Woodward sets out to tell in "Obama's Wars" actually is fairly well known. President Obama's agonized march to a decision on how to move forward in what he has called "a war of necessity" in Afghanistan has been widely reported and analyzed. It's well known, for example, that the lack of good options bitterly divided the president's advisors and that the chief executive immersed himself in the details of the decision that ultimately produced a modified version of the "surge" strategy that the Bush administration used to stabilize — temporarily, at least — Iraq.
September 22, 2010 |
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani used revelations in a new book about the Obama administration to criticize the president's handling of the war in Afghanistan, saying his insistence on an exit strategy has put American forces at greater risk. Giuliani also took issue with a quote attributed to President Obama by author Bob Woodward — that the country could "absorb" another terrorist attack like the one suffered in September 2001. "I don't know that I would have said that," Giuliani told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.
August 30, 2010 |
Before Marine Cpl. Corey Griggs went on his last patrol in Afghanistan's restive Helmand province, he had a premonition of sorts. "I was joking with my buddies that it was going to be a bad night," said Griggs, 23, of Portland, Ore. He was right. As darkness settled on a recent Saturday over the desert village of Sangin, someone threw a bomb over a mud wall at Griggs and his squad. The blast shattered his right forearm and embedded jagged shrapnel in his left. After emergency surgery at a military outpost, Griggs, who is also being monitored for possible brain injuries, was placed aboard a specially outfitted cargo plane airlifting him to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center next to the U.S. air base at Ramstein, Germany.
July 29, 2010 |
The disclosure of classified reports about the Afghanistan war revealed tactics to the enemy and could endanger individuals who provided intelligence to the U.S. and its allies, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday. Gates called the disclosure of the documents a "major security breach" and said "the battlefield consequences are potentially severe and dangerous." His statements were his first public comments since the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks posted more than 70,000 war documents from 2004 to 2009 on its website Sunday.
July 29, 2010
WikiLeaks and us Re "A whistle-blower with global resonance," and "WikiLeaks wasn't wrong," Editorial, July 27 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian hacker, may end up being one of the best things to ever happen to our American democracy. It is not for politicians and bureaucrats to decide what American citizens and voters need to know. In the last 75 years, we have seen a sharp increase in the use of secrecy laws to cover up illegal activities, corruption and incompetence rather than to protect information that safeguards national security, as originally intended.
July 28, 2010 |
Members of Congress on Tuesday ended a months-long standoff and agreed to fund President Obama's Afghanistan troop buildup, but not without debating withdrawal of U.S. troops from neighboring Pakistan. The release this week of leaked classified reports about the Afghan war propelled efforts by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to push to bring U.S. military personnel home from Pakistan by year's end. The House voted 372 to 38 against the resolution to curtail military operations in Pakistan, but the debate served as yet another example of growing antiwar sentiment in Congress.