National Security Network

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

President Bush

Past Bush Administration Failures in Iraq and Afghanistan Still Having Repercussions Today

Report 26 October 2009
Iraq just experienced its worst bombing in two years and today was the deadliest day in Afghanistan in four years. While conservatives want to pretend that the history of America’s involvement in these wars started only when President Obama was sworn-in to office, the reality is that the new Administration is dealing with the fallout of eight years of incompetent war time management by the past Administration. Contrary to statements by his critics, President Obama has moved aggressively to clean up previous messes made in both theaters. In Iraq, he set a timetable for the extrication of American forces, pushed Iraqis to take control of their own future, and has been intensely engaged in resolving political disputes. In Afghanistan, the President has increased our resources and manpower while focusing on developing a strategy for a war that had been without one.
More »
Afghanistan

Fraudulent Afghan Elections Demonstrate Need to Reassess Strategy

Report 16 October 2009
Reports this morning that election oversight officials in Afghanistan put President Hamid Karzai’s vote total below 50 percent make it increasingly likely that a runoff election between him and his nearest challenger Abdullah Abdullah will take place. This revelation not only confirms that extensive fraud occurred on Karzai’s behalf, but severely undercuts the legitimacy of the election process and potentially the future government.
More »
Afghanistan

Conservatives Offer Tired, One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Afghanistan

Report 13 October 2009
Arguments for an Iraq-style surge in Afghanistan that were launched this weekend by conservative politicians, notably Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are missing one crucial element – a correct understanding of what actually happened in Iraq. On the airwaves they advocated a one-size fits-all approach to resolving the conflict, predictably arguing for an Iraq-style surge in Afghanistan. However, they fail to comprehend what actually happened in Iraq. Experts attest that the crucial factor in dampening the violence in Iraq were the deals – and not the temporary troop increase - that U.S. forces cut with Sunni insurgents, creating the so-called Anbar Awakening.
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Administration’s Vigilance Against Terrorism Makes America Safer

Report 6 October 2009
Today President Obama will visit the National Counterterrorism Center to review its operations, especially in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. While much of the attention of the media and the public has been devoted to issues such as health care, the economy, dealings with Iran, and the war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has maintained its vigilance in the struggle against transnational terrorism. The President’s approach to counterterrorism has made America safer and significantly weakened terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.
More »
Diplomacy

Conservatives Go Off the Water’s Edge on National Security

Report 5 October 2009
The mythical “water’s edge” beyond which politics plays no part in US national security policy receded further this weekend, as Senator Jim DeMint personally worked to undermine US policy toward Honduras and other Senators sought to go around the chain of command on Afghanistan and called for military strikes on Iran. It is fair to advocate these positions; it is another thing to actively lobby for them in a political manner that undercuts our country’s ability to navigate the already difficult terrain of national security policy.
More »
Afghanistan

Getting Afghanistan Strategy Right

Report 29 September 2009
As pressure mounts on the Obama administration to explain its way forward in Afghanistan, the Administration is doing its homework in developing an effective strategy. Unlike previous administrations, the current one is pursuing, as Secretary Gates said yesterday, “the first real strategy we have had for Afghanistan since the early 1980s.” This is not a tidy process, as the uncertainty surrounding the flawed presidential elections last month has demonstrated. But one thing is for certain – getting Afghanistan policy right will require more than a purely military approach. Getting Afghanistan policy right is about much more than a magic bullet number of troops. President Obama explained “we are not going to put the cart before the horse and just think that sending more troops will automatically make America safe.” Hearing all sides in the vibrant political-military debate that is taking place amongst experts will allow the Administration to avoid the “group-think” that has plagued past administrations, especially on Afghanistan. This clear-eyed approach to managing the war stands in stark contrast to the self-assured ideological approach that characterized President Bush’s war-time decision making, which failed to take real facts – even the unwelcome ones – into account. That failed approach has had dire consequences for our national security, and the important debate taking place now is both refreshing and significant. Hypocritically, conservatives have started attacking the President for not rushing to increase troops. Instead, of playing political games with the war, this Administration is focused on getting the strategy right.
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Foreign Policy Sunday Blitz

Report 28 September 2009
After a week of intense international engagement, the administration’s top foreign policy officials hit the Sunday morning talk shows to discuss the difficult foreign policy decisions that lie ahead. Fareed Zakaria laid out the stakes for the Administration, taken together: “He wants to demonstrate at home that engagement does not make America weak.” This weekend, the President’s top advisors took on a number of serious issues: Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay – and confirmed that the Administration is moving forward with its core strategy of strength through engagement while carefully considering the implications of its policy decisions. On ABC’s ‘This Week’ Bob Woodward drew a contrast with the past: “As we all know from covering George W. Bush, all you had to do was find out what his gut was and then they would have meetings about how to implement what his gut was. In this case, I don’t think Obama has a gut, and he has opened the door very aggressively to other options, and they’re not going to be rushed.”
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Eight Years After 9-11

Report 11 September 2009
Eight years ago today America was attacked. Today we pause to look back and honor those who died as well as those who struggled and sacrificed to defend us on that day and ever since. As we look back, it is worth remembering how eight years ago the world rose united in grief and support, and how Americans rose to support each other and to turn new attention to foreign affairs. But this year, significant steps from the Obama administration have changed the way we fight terrorism – changes that are making us safer today and in the future, and once again inviting the world to stand beside us united.
More »
Afghanistan

After Seven Years of Neglect, Afghanistan Situation Remains Perilous

Report 24 August 2009
Years of neglect from the Bush Administration caused conditions in Afghanistan to grow steadily worse and set the stage for the challenges the Obama Administration is now wrestling with. Americans and Afghans both deserve a media and public debate that asks hard questions and engages in regular, unvarnished reassessment of the mission. Both are ill-served when, instead, what we get is a constant refrain of “Obama’s war” and stories that spend more space on lazy Vietnam parallels than on developments on the ground.
More »
Afghanistan

Obama lauds Afghan vote, warns of more violence

News Associated Press 22 August 2009