The Belmont Club was discussing the McChrystal letter and the President's response to it.
The Wall Street Journal says Secretary Gates has passed on a request for more men for the Afghan campaign from General McChrystal. Gates had attempted to delay the formal transmission, but mounting public interest in the issue made it pointless to hold it back.Interestingly Fox News reports: Code Pink Supports Afghan War?WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates has forwarded a request for more troops in Afghanistan to President Barack Obama, the Pentagon said Wednesday, as divisions within the administration and Congress continued despite Mr. Obama’s high-profile meeting with congressional leaders the day before … in the end, the defense chief feared that the document — already widely reported on — would leak to the press before Mr. Obama had a chance to read it, said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell. The request outlines several options ranging up to 40,000 troops added to the 68,000 now stationed or headed there.
But one report says the group is now rethinking its position on the Afghanistan war. The Christian Science Monitor reports that during a recent trip to Kabul, local Afghan women told Code Pinkers the situation is a lot more complicated than they think. Afghan member of Parliament and women’s activist Shinkai Karokhail told the group's founders: "In the current situation of terrorism, we cannot say troops should be withdrawn."It is amazing what even accepting a little responsibility can do.
Those concerns convinced the founders that setting a deadline is not in Afghanistan's best interest. Medea Benjamin, Code Pink co-founder, said: "We would leave with the same parameters of an exit strategy but we might perhaps be more flexible about a timeline... So many people are saying that, 'If the U.S. troops left — the country would collapse. We'd go into a civil war.' A palpable sense of fear, that is making us start to reconsider that."
Let us not forget that a lot of vets (Ds as well as Rs - The founder of Swift Boats was a D) caused Kerry to lose to Bush. If Obama turns his back on the troops he loses them.
And then with responsibility for the women of Afghanistan adopted by Code Pink (they actually want to live up to their highest ideals - even if it tarnishes some of their others - as long as it is they who care and not Bush)
A debacle in Afghanistan for the women of that country (more videoed stonings of women) would not just be a point for the opposition. It would ruin what is left of Obama's self image. The guy has got to be really hurting. The knife to the gut from Medea Benjamin has got to be his "Et Tu Brutus" moment.
My friend Alex sent me an e-mail with a link to this piece from another Code Pinker (or a fellow traveler) who was in Afghanistan.
I have come to Kabul because I want to experience for myself what is happening here, eight years after the U.S. ousted the Taliban. I have spent the past 40 years of my life protesting war and working for peace in conflict areas. I don’t believe that killing leads to peace.Now if you go to the site you will see some drivel about Palestine to begin the post. But I have to tell you that even a little honesty and honor among the left is a big surprise and was the very best I could expect after the election of our current President. Now if only our President was listening. One can only HOPE.
I came here as part of a small peace delegation of mostly women who share my conviction that President Obama must not send more troops and should set a timeline for withdrawal of the 60,000 that are here.
But now - after seven intense days and nights of interviews and meetings in Kabul - I no longer have that conviction.
The best path to peace may not be the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops. And since the troops here now are not able to provide enough security for the Afghans to rebuild their country, it is possible more troops may be needed.
It shocks me to admit this. But the voices I have heard – local and international NGO workers, reconciliation activists, ex-Taliban members, warlords, women in homeless shelters and in governmental positions – clearly do not want a withdrawal of troops now. They are under attack. The great majority of the people I listened to – not all but the great majority – feel that additional troops are necessary to train a viable Afghan army and a national police force and to secure the country so that development projects can proceed. Yes, we should have accomplished those goals by now, but we have not.
Cross Posted at Classical Values