Note: Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. Learn how the war in Afghanistan undermines U.S. security: watch Rethink Afghanistan (Part Six), & visit http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog.
Two very hopeful stories (well, actually one story in two different forms) broke this evening that show that the non-escalation factions in the Obama Administration can play the leaking game, too.
First, we have this Washington Post piece that describes Ambassador Eikenberry’s strong warnings to the president about adding more troops in Afghanistan before Karzai cleans up his act (ha ha ha ho ho hee hee hee hum):
The U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington in the past week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai’s government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban’s rise, senior U.S. officials said.
…Eikenberry has expressed deep reservations about Karzai’s erratic behavior and corruption within his government, said U.S. officials familiar with the cables. Since Karzai was officially declared reelected last week, U.S. diplomats have seen little sign that the Afghan president plans to address the problems they have raised repeatedly with him.
U.S. officials were particularly irritated by a interview this week in which a defiant Karzai said that the West has little interest in Afghanistan and that its troops are there only for self-serving reasons.
…Eikenberry also has expressed frustration with the relative paucity of funds set aside for spending on development and reconstruction this year in Afghanistan, a country wrecked by three decades of war. …The ambassador also has worried that sending tens of thousands of additional American troops would increase the Afghan government’s dependence on U.S. support at a time when its own security forces should be taking on more responsibility for fighting.
BBC’s reports that Eikenberry said more troops was “not a good idea.”
Eikenberry’s no peacenik. He was a lieutenant-general in charge of training the Afghan army before Obama tapped him to be the U.S. ambassador. Technically a U.S. ambassador is the head honcho for the United States in a given country. If the ex-military ambassador says we should think twice about sending more troops into his country of responsibility, you better take it seriously.
Next, we have this hopeful AP article that asserts that the president is choosing, “none of the above,” as his option in the multiple choices presented to him by the Pentagon:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
I wonder if this strange feeling in my gut is this “hope” thing I keep hearing so much about.