Planning for next steps in Afghanistan continues -- National Security Adviser former Gen. Jim Jones will brief the full House on the Afghanistan situation in a closed meeting later this week in the Capitol Visitor Center, according to The Hill. White House advisers appear to be split on what to do in Afghanistan. Administration spokesman, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, has ruled out the option of leaving Afghanistan and also refused to rebuke Commanding General Stanley McChrystal's very public stance. Congressional leaders head to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the worsening situation , adding their input to help the President make his decision. "President summons congressional leaders on Afghanistan strategy," is the headline from The Hill (10/5/09). To quote:
Pakistan pushes back -- Congress passed an aid package for Pakistan of $1.5 billion a year for the next five years last week. President Asif Ali Zardari acceded to the demands of Congress contained in the law. Pakistan agreed to end support of terrorist groups in its country. It will also make sure that its military does not interfere with civilian politics. The headline, "U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance^," is from The New York Times (10/6/09). To quote:
The meeting comes amid mounting casualties in the eight-year war and as President Barack Obama weighs a pending request for 40,000 more troops from the leading commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
It is the first time in six months that House Republican leaders have been invited to the White House to discuss official business; Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are both scheduled to attend. If Obama decides to send all the troops McChrystal wants, he will probably need Republican votes to sustain the escalation.
Steps by the United States to vastly expand its aid to Pakistan, as well as the footprint of its embassy and private security contractors here, are aggravating an already volatile anti-American mood as Washington pushes for greater action by the government against the Taliban.
Short takes from others --
Chuck Todd^ tweets (10/5/09), "Ponder this: Obama admin sees al Qaeda has an org U.S. needs to DESTROY while the Taliban is a group that needs to be DEFEATED. Thots?"
"Gates to Army: We'll follow Obama's orders on Afghanistan," is from McClatchy News (10/5/09). I favor McClatchy for providing the most helpful coverage of the situation in the war zones.
"Voice of Bush's favored general is now harder to hear," is by Elizabeth Bumiller at the New York Times (10/4/09). Her report refers to General David Petraeus.
"Obama Meets Advisers on Afghanistan; Ismail Khan Warns against US Troop Surge," is by Professor Juan Cole at Informed Comment (10/1/09). Good analysis from my favorite Middle East expert.
"Containing a Nuclear Iran#," is by Fareed Zakaria from Newsweek Magazine (10/3/09). HT to my regular contributor of links, Jon for this good piece.