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Obama strategy a 'high-stakes gamble'

By Ben Pershing
After months of deliberation, President Obama will unveil his new strategy for Afghanistan Tuesday to a country -- and a Congress -- still divided on the right way forward.

Obama is expected to announce at West Point that he is sending 34,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, and will ask allies to send an additional 5,000 troops. This latest troop increase "will nearly triple the American military presence in Afghanistan that Mr. Obama inherited when he took office and represents a high-stakes gamble by a new commander in chief that he can turn around an eight-year-old war that his own generals fear is getting away from the United States," the New York Times reports. "Obama will lay out in his speech what amounts to an exit strategy, centered on measures to strengthen the Afghan government so that its security forces can begin taking control of their own country," the Washington Post writes. "He is expected to specify benchmarks for Afghan progress on both the military and political fronts."

Bloomberg's headline says Obama now "owns" the Afpak conflict (but haven't we been calling it "Obama's War" for awhile?). As for the timing, the Associated Press writes: "Military officials said at least one group of Marines is expected to deploy within two or three weeks of Obama's announcement, and would be in Afghanistan by Christmas. Larger deployments wouldn't be able to follow until early in 2010." Abroad, the Financial Times reports "France and Germany are under pressure to raise the number of troops they have in Afghanistan after decisions by the Obama administration and several NATO powers and US allies to commit to a major new deployment." Britain has already committed to sending an additional 500 troops.

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By Ben Pershing  |  December 1, 2009; 8:28 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Why do people keep saying that Americans don't know what the Afghanistan mission is?
We were attacked on 9/11 by Al-Qaida which was supported, sheltered and defended by the Taliban.
MISSION: Destroy, degrade, deny those organizations sanctuary and diminish them worldwide, and when we encounter their spawn, do the same. (The same mission as in 2001.)
Get used to this, it’ll be with us for a long time.
What's so hard about that?
Or should we save money and settle for picking body parts off the sides of crumbled buildings?

Posted by: bgreen2224 | December 1, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Since we are posting "Open Letters":

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse


Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?

Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse


President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.

We're counting on you.

Michael Moore

P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or email the President

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

An Open Letter To President Obama,
Dear President Obama,
I know it pains you to send more troops to Afghanistan when you were hoping to bring them home. You delayed in hopes to find a more effective way to end this war.
Please hear my plea as a plea from God.

Each religion is expecting a Savior to perfect their religion and save them. The Savior will always be the word of God that He sent to their prophet. The primary message of God through Muhammad was to follow the whole Bible. Jesus said to live by every word of God. We cannot be saved individually or as a nation unless we follow God’s word in truth.

People are not following as IT IS WRITTEN; but are following errors passed down. They must change. All religions need correction back to what God told their prophets. That is their part, but the nations’ leaders can and must lead their nation by example; they must establish the Days of No Work God commanded in Leviticus 23 and Exodus 20 the Ten Commandments also known as the Sinai Covenant. We were not to add holidays or take away from God’s holy days under great penalty for rejection. Leviticus 26.

In 1991 I was physically anointed with oil and wine poured over my head at the commandment of God and I am ONE of the people God has used to warn the nations and to bless the nations by telling them that He has solutions to the world problems we created by ignoring His wisdom. My first understanding that tragedy follows rejection of God’s word came with the fire at Windsor Castle in November 20, 1992 after I had sent a multi page plea for religion correction to the Queen of England and other world leaders including the United Nations. She would later remark that year was a pain in her glutimus maximus.

God has provided a way out, but we must turn to Him in an obvious way. He said He will cut His work short in righteousness. He is trying to establish His kingdom on earth and bring us our of the bondage lifestyle that is destroying us and our world. He also said terrors will not cease UNTIL we turn to Him in truth.

Marie Devine
God has solutions to world problems we created by ignoring His wisdom.

Posted by: MarieDevine | December 1, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse


When will POTUS and his team wake up and smell the police state that apparently has entrained his administration's decision-making?



* Thousands of Americans, deemed to be "dissidents" or undesirables, targeted by Bush legacy program for debilitating microwave/laser assault, held hostage in their own homes to fed-supported vigilante "community policing" stalking units, equipped with warrantless GPS devices, who vandalize and terrorize as local police look the other way.

* "Directed energy weapons," portable units and a nationwide installation employing cell towers and satellites, induce weakness, exhaustion, mood changes, head and body aches, physical and neurological impairment, strokes, aneurysms, cancer -- and many victims do not realize what is making them sick.

* Regional Homeland Security- administered "fusion centers" reportedly serve as command centers for covert electromagnetic radiation attacks, pervasive surveillance, financial sabotage of those identified as "dissidents," "trouble-makers" or slandered as threats to society.

* Use of microwave weaponry to torture and impair political opponents recently confirmed by deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya.

* Pleas for justice, to local police and FBI, go unanswered -- as do demands for a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation and congressional hearings.

"These are crimes against humanity and the Constitution, being perpetrated under the cover of national security and 'safe streets' by multiple federal and local agencies and commands -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight, enabled by the naivete of those who think 'it can't happen here.'" -- Victor Livingston, former reporter for WTXF-TV Philadelphia, Phila. Bulletin, N.Y. Daily News, St. Petersburg Times; producer/host, MSG Network Sports Business Report; columnist,

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 1, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Is Obama's new Afghan war strategy an acceleration of U.S. exit or escalation?


Posted by: usadblake | December 1, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Sending more troops is definitely not the right strategy. Bring our troops home now!
This president is too naive to understand what war and the military are all about!
He is way over his head in understanding what exactly the people in this nation want. I'm still waiting for him to understand what the real #1 priority of this nation is...JOBS, JOBS, JOBS...

Posted by: SeniorVet | December 1, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

This Man campaigned on the Promise that
he would end these wars we cannot afford!

in Oct he promised the troops would be home
on Jan 22nd!

his promises slowly shifted to the right,
until people were voting for a younger
Ronald Reagan.


Bring the troops Home!!!

120,000 in Iraq- 100,000 in Afghanistan-

I feel like we elected George McGovern,
and instead of pulling out of Viet Nam,
he sent troops to Laos!!!

I see a generation of america's youth,
about to be thrown in that same Viet Nam

Bring our troops home!

We cannot afford to waste a generation
of our best and brightest to the work
of ending these unjust wars!!
But, it will happen!!!!

it is happening!!!

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 1, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama is just playing the art of war.

Posted by: jimellis41 | December 1, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"This latest troop increase "will nearly triple the American military presence in Afghanistan that Mr. Obama inherited when he took office"

how do you "inherit" something you campaigned for?

He BEGGED to be in charge, he is, and we're all tired of his propaganda of "inherit"

At least the author doesnt' consider himself a journalist.. he's an obama lackey

Posted by: tru-indy | December 1, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

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