Welcome to the American Revolution II

Welcome to the American Revolution II
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, September 27, 2009

McChrystal is 'The Very Best' Officer to Command in Afghanistan

The Very Best' Officer to Command in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today gave his unequivocal vote of confidence to the senior U.S. military officer in Afghanistan.

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union news show, Gates told host John King that Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal is "the very best commanding officer we could possibly have" as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Gates said he believes President Barack Obama shares his strong confidence in McChrystal's abilities.

In June, McChrystal took over as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. In late August, the general submitted his assessment of how the U.S. should proceed in Afghanistan to the Pentagon and the White House.

In his assessment McChrystal found that the situation in Afghanistan "is more serious than we had thought and that he had thought before going out there," Gates said.

McChrystal has said he needs more troops and other resources to get the job done in Afghanistan. Currently, some 68,000 U.S. servicemembers are deployed in Afghanistan, including 21,500 troops that have deployed since Obama announced the new Afghan strategy in March.

When President Obama announced his new Afghan strategy, Gates recalled, the president also noted that that strategy would be reviewed following Afghanistan's presidential elections that were held in August.

McChrystal also has submitted his separate assessment of the numbers of troops and other resources that he thinks are required to carry out his recommended Afghanistan strategy, Gates said on CNN.

Right now, "we are in the middle of a process of evaluating, really, the decisions the President made in late March to say: 'Have we got the strategy right?'" Gates said.

And, once everyone is confident that the strategy for Afghanistan is correct, Gates told King, then, the question of possible additional resources, including more troops, will be addressed.

Later today, on the ABC-TV "This Week" program, Gates told host George Stephanopoulos that "it's a matter of a few weeks," before the Afghanistan review would be completed.

Stephanopoulos also asked Gates if accusations of voting fraud in the re-election of President Hamid Karzai will impact U.S. policy there.

Gates replied that news of the flawed Afghan election surfaced after McChrystal submitted his first assessment report, and that two election commissions, one internal, the other international, are now studying how the election was conducted.

However, the Afghan people still believe in their government, Gates said.

"The key is whether the Afghans believe that their government has legitimacy," Gates said. "And, everything that I've seen in the intelligence and elsewhere indicates that remains the case."

Despite pressure, McChrystal to hold firm on request for troops

Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he will not back down from his request for additional troops in Afghanistan, even though Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration have been hesitant to embrace it.

Speaking on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday night, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan said pressure to rescind that request will have no affect on his actions going forward.

“Doesn’t affect me at all, and I take this extraordinarily seriously,” McChrystal said, according to a transcript. “I believe that what I am responsible to do is to give my best assessment.”

McChrystal’s recent report -- delivered to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on Friday and asking for 40,000 more troops -- is a hot-button issue on Capitol Hill, with Democrats hitting the Sunday talk show circuit earlier in the day and saying that the administration should weigh McChrystal’s request very carefully.

"I think the president is correct to take his time, to really examine what the alternatives are at this time," Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, echoing fellow senator and former Navy Secretary Jim Webb (D-Va.).Obama authorized 21,000 additional troops for Afghanistan as soon as he came into office in January and the last from that order are still deploying to the region.

McChrystal deflected when asked whether he thought he would get what he is asking for from Washington.

“I’m confident that I will have an absolute chance to provide my assessment and to make my recommendations,” he said.

McChrystal also stated that he had only spoken to Obama once in 70 days since taking over as commander in the eight-year-old war.

He said the United States often hasn’t done what it should have during those eight years, and he is trying to change the culture of the U.S. presence in the country as the Taliban rebounds. That includes cracking down on aggressive driving by U.S. convoys and asking soldiers to take on additional risks in the name of protecting Afghan citizens.

“There’s an awful lot of bad habits we’ve got to deprogram,” McChrystal said.

He said time is of the essence in a war that experts say has become more difficult than Iraq, and that progress needs to be made fast.

He has been blunt about the prospect of failure, and he said he will be honest if and when that prospect becomes a reality.

“We could do good thing in Afghanistan for the next 100 years and fail,” he said, “because we’re doing a lot of good things, and it just doesn’t add up to success.”

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