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Principles for an Afghanistan Strategy

Afghanistan
When the Obama Administration began a 60-day review of its Afghanistan strategy, a diverse group of progressive experts in development, counter-terrorism, regional politics and US politics came together to advise NSN on a set of principles that might guide both the Administration in building a new strategy and advocates in Congress, the media and the public in judging a proposed strategy. We begin from the premise that the situation in the United States, and the history and dynamics of the region, require a sharp differentiation between objectives that we might like to achieve and a baseline of what must be achieved for our national interests and our moral obligations – to our military, our citizens and the people of Afghanistan.
Read the full paper: The Progressive Approach: Afghanistan »

Afghanistan

Getting the Afghanistan Strategy Right In the Face of Continual Far Right Bombast

Report 20 November 2009
In a surprise visit to Kabul this week, Secretary of State Clinton attended Hamid Karzai’s Presidential inauguration. During the visit, she urged the Afghan government to both reform itself and to stamp out corruption. In particular, she stressed that Karzai had a limited window to “make a new compact with the people of Afghanistan.” Clinton’s message underscored a basic point that progressives have been making for months – that without a political and diplomatic strategy that urges Afghans to step up, no plan for Afghanistan can succeed.
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Afghanistan

On Afghanistan and Pakistan, while Administration Acts, Conservatives Rest on Reckless Criticism

Report 17 November 2009
Even as deliberations over the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy continue, and President Obama traveled in Asia, notable steps in the Afghanistan – Pakistan region set the stage for productive US efforts, with senior officials encouraging their partner governments to step up. This weekend, Secretary of State Clinton used strong language to pressure the Karzai government to act against corruption, a tough stance followed by the Karzai administration’s launch yesterday of a new anti-corruption initiative. National Security Advisor Jones visited Pakistan to convey support for the government’s recent offensive against militants, along with a letter from President Obama urging continued resolve. Steep challenges of governance, security, and managing delicate national pride remain in both countries. This week’s events show the Administration squarely focused on a core part of any successful strategy: motivating the Kabul and Islamabad governments to take the lead.
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Afghanistan

Powell to Obama on Afghanistan Strategy: “You take your time”

Report 12 November 2009
It is the responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief to ask the tough questions and challenge our military and civilian bureaucracies to look past their own perspectives to provide the best answers.  Even as these important debates continue, prominent neoconservative pundits remain bent on blasting the Administration for ‘dithering’ on its strategy.  Not only does this reckless commentary ignore the complex reality of Afghanistan – one that can’t be reduced to an exclusive focus on troop numbers – but it runs against the emerging bi-partisan consensus that the President has behaved shrewdly in taking a deliberate approach to his strategy.  
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Afghanistan

While Afghanistan’s Political Situation Remains Uncertain, Conservatives Maintain Their Failed Approach

Report 2 November 2009
The decision by Abdullah Abdullah to drop out of Afghanistan’s run-off election has finally created a level of clarity on who will lead the beleaguered nation. Yet despite the return of Hamid Karzai as President, the political situation remains far from either clear or conducive to short-term stability. This latest development is far from ideal, especially as it is taking place while we recalibrate our Afghanistan strategy. As President Obama continues to develop a strategy for Afghanistan, this latest development is yet another indication that the most essential ingredient for fostering stability there — the political environment — remains unstable and a major impediment to progress. As one top Afghanistan observer said, the Afghan political situation is now a “fiasco.” This means that while a central tenet of a successful counter-insurgency strategy is the inclusion of a viable political partner, it is essential that President Obama’s strategic review adequately reflect the now evident political chaos enveloping Afghanistan. It also underlines the primacy of the political over the military, both on the ground in Afghanistan and in Washington’s strategic planning.
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Afghanistan

More Revisionist History from Dick Cheney on Afghanistan

Report 22 October 2009
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s efforts to rewrite the track record of his Administration reached a new level of absurdity yesterday. In one of the most bizarre attacks on President Obama yet, Cheney, as well as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), accused the President of “dithering” on Afghanistan.Furthermore, Cheney and Boehner’s calls for the Administration to rush more troops to Afghanistan without a clear partner government in place are irresponsible.
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Afghanistan

Gen. Eaton: Dick Cheney Was "Incompetent War Fighter"

Press Release Washington DC 22 October 2009
The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it.  2.  Ignore it. 3. Bomb it.
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