October 8, 2009


Afghan War Debate Now Leans to Focus on Al Qaeda (PETER BAKER and ERIC SCHMITT, 10/08/09, NY Times)

President Obama’s national security team is moving to reframe its war strategy by emphasizing the campaign against Al Qaeda in Pakistan while arguing that the Taliban in Afghanistan do not pose a direct threat to the United States, officials said Wednesday. [...]

It remains unclear whether everyone in Mr. Obama’s war cabinet fully accepts this view. While Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has argued for months against increasing troops in Afghanistan because Pakistan was the greater priority, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have both warned that the Taliban remain linked to Al Qaeda and would give their fighters havens again if the Taliban regained control of all or large parts of Afghanistan, making it a mistake to think of them as separate problems.

Moreover, Mr. Obama’s commander there, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, has argued that success demands a substantial expansion of the American presence, up to 40,000 more troops. Any decision that provides less will expose the president to criticism, especially from Republicans, that his policy is a prescription for failure.

The White House appears to be trying to prepare the ground to counter that by focusing attention on recent successes against Qaeda cells in Pakistan.

If we've determined that we have no problem with an Islamicist regime then why pursue al Qaeda, whose goal is Islamicism?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 8, 2009 2:36 PM
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