December 9, 2009

SOMEONE HAS TO LEAD THE UNICORN:

Gates: 'We're in this thing to win': In a surprise visit to Afghanistan, he aims to reassure troops, Karzai (Glenn Kessler, 12/08/09, Washington Post)

Gates, the first senior U.S. official to travel to Afghanistan since Obama's announcement, said he will stress to President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan officials that the United States will not abandon them as it did in 1989, when the Soviet Union left in defeat. The United States had backed forces fighting the Soviets, but ended its support after Moscow quit the war, paving the way for Taliban rule.

"We are not going to repeat the experience of 1989," Gates said. As U.S. troops begin to depart in favor of trained Afghan forces, developmental and economic aid will continue to flow, he stressed. "We intend to be their partner for a long time to come," Gates said.

Gates's remark that the United States is in the battle in Afghanistan "to win" marked an unusual description of the mission here by an administration official.

Obama has shied away from such expressive language, either in his speech last week announcing the decision to add at least 30,000 troops or when he first announced an Afghanistan strategy in March.


You can always tell when Barack Obama has given one of his singularly eloquent addresses because his team fans out across the globe to do damage control.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 9, 2009 6:02 AM
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