Because of the speculation that predominates in this post, I have been reluctant to put it up. But it is time for the stories to be gotten out and discussed. This is the key published piece for the Asia Times Online: "Obama not bowing to top brass yet" (2/4/09). To quote the opening:
United States Central Command chief, General David Petraeus, supported by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all US combat troops from Iraq within 18 months. This was at an Oval Office meeting on January 21.
But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen that he wasn't convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.
Obama's decision to override Petraeus's recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however.
Second, this headline said that, "Pentagon study: US should pare Afghanistan goals#," from Yahoo! News (2/3/09). This leak of a classified document could be the opening salvo in the Pentagon's campaign against the Obama administration's change of direction, in my opinion. To quote:
A classified Pentagon report urges President Barack Obama to shift U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, de-emphasizing democracy-building and concentrating more on targeting Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuaries inside Pakistan with the aid of Pakistani military forces.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has seen the report prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but it has not yet been presented to the White House, officials said Tuesday. The recommendations are one element of a broad policy reassessment under way along with recommendations to be considered by the White House from the commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, and other military leaders.
A senior defense official said Tuesday that it will likely take several weeks before the Obama administration rolls out its long-term strategy for Afghanistan.
The Joint Chiefs' plan reflects growing worries that the U.S. military was taking on more than it could handle in Afghanistan by pursuing the Bush administration's broad goal of nurturing a thriving democratic government.
There are three more related stories:
- "Pentagon Spending and Procurement Crisis looms?", (2/2/09) by Steve Clemons. This piece examines the question about what might happen to the military-industrial complex under the current administration.
- ProPublica: "Commission on wartime Contractors discovers . . . Afghanistan" (2/2/09).
- Currently, AlterNet headlines, "America is completely broke, and here we are funding fantasy wars at the Pentagon#."
And in conclusion, from CQ Behind the Lines (on national security):
Feds: . . . “A major battle will emerge in March over the E-Verify homeland security program, which comes up for re-authorization in Congress,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
One Hundred Days: If the Democratic Congress sets out to scourge the terror-war missteps of the Bush administration, it “risks savagely polarizing the country just when the economic meltdown demands bipartisanship,” Newsweek’s John Barry cautions.
What do you think? Does any of this ring true, or is it all just wild speculation? I literally do not know.
Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are "betmo*" and Jon#.
See also Behind the Links.
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.