Gates: We’re not leaving Afghanistan anytime soon

posted at 10:20 pm on October 5, 2009 by Allahpundit

Good to know, although whether this is comforting or ominous depends on what Obama decides about troop levels, doesn’t it? The one outcome guaranteed to anger both left and right is staying put with too few troops to secure the country; all that does is keep men in harm’s way to save face until we can withdraw “with honor.” If we’re going to keep just enough people there to lose, pull out now and save some American lives.

“We are not leaving Afghanistan. This discussion is about next steps forward and the president has some momentous decisions to make,” Gates said in a TV program taped at George Washington University that will be aired by CNN on Tuesday…

“The reality is that because of our inability, and the inability, frankly, of our allies, (for putting) enough troops into Afghanistan, the Taliban do have the momentum right now, it seems,” Gates said.

However, he said the United States could not afford to give al Qaeda and the Taliban the propaganda victory of a U.S. retreat in Afghanistan, where mujahideen forced the Soviet Union to withdraw in 1989 after a decade of bloody warfare…

“What’s more important than that in my view is the message that it sends that empowers al Qaeda … The notion that they have come back from this defeat, come back from 2002, to challenge not only the United States but NATO, 42 nations, is a hugely empowering message should they be successful.” he said.

Sure sounds like he’s leaning towards McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy/heavy footprint, which may explain why news stories about how we’ve infiltrated Al Qaeda and how the organization is a shell of its former self are now creeping into newspapers. Clearly, some military and intel people who’d prefer Biden’s counterterror approach and a lighter footprint are keen for Americans to think that current troop levels are adequate to keep AQ under control.

Hunted by U.S. drones, beset by money problems and finding it tougher to lure young Arabs to the bleak mountains of Pakistan, al Qaeda is seeing its role shrink there and in Afghanistan, according to intelligence reports and Pakistani and U.S. officials. Conversations intercepted by the U.S. show al Qaeda fighters complaining of shortages of weapons, clothing and, in some cases, food. The number of foreign fighters in Afghanistan appears to be declining, U.S. military officials say…

Similarly, the U.S. in the past was unable to comprehensively monitor communications in Pakistan; that has now been rectified, said an official briefed on U.S. operations. Through that monitoring, U.S., British and Pakistani intelligence officials have seen increasing evidence that al Qaeda is having difficulty raising money…

The new intelligence has provided fresh ways to try to undermine the foreign al Qaeda fighters. Pakistani authorities say they’ve started targeting food shipments believed to be headed for al Qaeda operatives, who prefer their own cuisine over local fare. “The Talibs, they’re eating mutton, chicken, bread — the food ordinary people eat,” said an officer from Pakistan’s ISI spy agency. “The Arabs want their own food.”

Exit question: If the Al Qaeda senior leadership is so boxed in, how’d Najibullah Zazi manage to make contact with them?


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Comment pages: 1 2

It is about trust. And with anything, if you don’t trust in the product it is doomed to fail. The taliban and al queada believe in their product and always will. There is one option…destroy them. The people will hate you until you destroy them…total victory.

tomas on October 6, 2009 at 7:50 AM

Thank you for posting the video.
yoda on October 6, 2009 at 7:40 AM

yoda on October 6, 2009 at 7:57 AM

However, he [Gates] said the United States could not afford to give al Qaeda and the Taliban the propaganda victory of a U.S. retreat in Afghanistan, where mujahideen forced the Soviet Union to withdraw in 1989 after a decade of bloody warfare…

Gates is serving (and giving cover to) an incompetent fool who, for base partisan purposes, wanted to do precisely that with the far more strategically important Iraq.

Basilsbest on October 6, 2009 at 8:16 AM

MB-4:

Absolutely! Read what Andy McCarthy has to say in “The mission is not McChrystal clear”: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NWQ3Y2U2NjNlYTAyMjI3MTAxZjYyOWZhNTU0Mzg3MzQ=

Like Obama’s disinterest in “victory,” McChrystal is blurring the point of our being in Afghanistan. Our job is to decimate the Taliban and alQaeda. It should be an all-out effort with an absence of limiting ROEs and nothing more

onlineanalyst on October 6, 2009 at 8:21 AM

It’s apparent that Obamao is dithering because he sees any military engagement as a draining of funds away from his draconian domestic social programs.

onlineanalyst on October 6, 2009 at 8:27 AM

Gates, Clinton and McChrystal are literally set up for failure. Obama wants them to fail and they will take the blame. It will reenergize the left, give Obama an opportunity to purge the “moderates” from his administration and gut the military for his domestic programs.

America has no strategic interest in Afghanistan. It’s a backwater. It never was and never will be the central front in the war on islamic fascism. The US should get out and focus on Iran.

But Obama doesn’t care. A quagmire in Afghanistan will only help him end America’s role as a global power and outsource foreign policy to the UN and NATO.

modifiedcontent on October 6, 2009 at 9:19 AM

onlineanalyst, just read the National Review article:

Yet the national-security Right is urging that we up the ante and put another 40,000 American lives at risk in this hostile theater, under this commander in chief and the same military leadership that dreamed up the ROE. Why?

Amen to that! I am a national security hawk, but conservatives and Republicans should take a step back here. We should oppose this president’s war of choice. Troops out now! Savor the irony.

modifiedcontent on October 6, 2009 at 9:27 AM

Gates: We’re not leaving Afghanistan anytime soon

They figure they can justify a dozen dead soldiers a week? Somewhere they figured a number of dead soldiers is acceptable, and as long as they keep to that number they can just “maintain”.
That way he doesn’t have to make any real decisions or determine strategy.

right2bright on October 6, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Well glad to see we will be leaving Afghanistan soon. It works every time. Whatever Obama says, do the exact opposite, and you will be right every time!

patriotparty1 on October 6, 2009 at 11:24 AM

That way he doesn’t have to make any real decisions or determine strategy.

right2bright on October 6, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Nailed it.

Barry can’t or will not make up his mind.

One of the ways Barry can hurt this country is to bring our troops low, kill patriotism and morale as Jimmy Carter did with Drugs in the Military. By simply not making decisions one way or another, letting his minions float vague announcements like this which mean nothing, probably have an expiration date, and lack the authority of the President and are therefore disposable, you sow chaos in the rank and file. Nothing, NOTHING, destroys an Army more quickly than an indecisive leader. Read Sun Tzu “The Art of War”:

When the leader is morally weak and his discipline not strict,
when his instructions and guidance are not enlightened,
when there are no consistent rules,
neighboring rulers will take advantage of this.”

GunRunner on October 6, 2009 at 11:38 AM

We’re not leaving Afghanistan anytime soon

The check is in the mail.

This will only hurt for a little while.

I promise I’ll never . . . .

/sarc

Mangy Scot on October 6, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Comment pages: 1 2