Obama WH falsely downplaying risks of retreat in Afghanistan: Military, intel sources

posted at 11:00 am on October 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Sources within both the intelligence and military communities tell McClatchy that Barack Obama’s White House has not been honest about the risks of moving away from a robust strategy of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.  Obama and his advisers have begun publicly discussing the Taliban as a moderate alternative to al-Qaeda in terms of enemies, but the latest intelligence shows just the opposite.  Taliban leadership and AQ have integrated even more tightly than ever since 9/11 and act in concert on strategy and tactics:

As the Obama administration reconsiders its Afghanistan policy, White House officials are minimizing warnings from the intelligence community, the military and the State Department about the risks of adopting a limited strategy focused on al Qaida, U.S. intelligence, diplomatic and military officials told McClatchy.

Recent U.S. intelligence assessments have found that the Taliban and other Pakistan-based groups that are fighting U.S.-led forces have much closer ties to al Qaida now than they did before 9/11, would allow the terrorist network to re-establish bases in Afghanistan and would help Osama bin Laden export his radical brand of Islam to Afghanistan’s neighbors and beyond, the officials said.

McClatchy interviewed more than 15 senior and mid-level U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic officials, all of whom said they concurred with the assessments. All of them requested anonymity because the assessments are classified and the officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Bob Kerrey openly wonders why the White House has begun to tread the ground of retreat, in an op-ed for today’s Wall Street Journal:

Yet despite these setbacks, our leaders must remain focused on the fact that success in Afghanistan bolsters our national security and yes, our moral reputation. This war is not Vietnam. The Taliban are not popular and have very little support other than what they secure through terror.

Afghanistan is also not Iraq. No serious leader in Kabul is asking us to leave. Instead we are being asked to withdraw by American leaders who begin their analysis with the presumption that victory is not possible. They seem to want to ensure defeat by leaving at the very moment when our military leader on the ground has laid out a coherent and compelling strategy for victory.

When it comes to foreign policy, almost nothing matters more then your friends and your enemies knowing you will keep your word and follow through on your commitments. This is the real test of presidential leadership. I hope that President Obama—soon to be a Nobel laureate—passes with flying colors.

If the military and intel communities are telling Obama that the idea of a “moderate Taliban” is false — and Lara Logan emphatically agrees — then where did this idea arise in the first place?  It comes not from Afghanistan, but from the left wing of the Democratic Party.  They have increased pressure on Obama to get out of Afghanistan, and the Nobel Peace Prize was specifically intended to help in that effort.  The Left wants a way out of the war, and the Obama administration has begun floating trial balloons to help sell this as something other than a retreat, if Obama goes along with it.

Kerrey doesn’t think Obama will do so, and to his credit, Obama has increased resources and offered stalwart political support for the war … until last month, when he finally got schooled on COIN resourcing.  If Obama intends on making an honest decision on this, he needs to stop his advisers from making very dishonest arguments in public about it.  The Taliban are not moderates, and they share the same ideological, political, and tactical goals as Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Anyone saying anything differently is simply selling a false argument for a dishonorable retreat in the face of our enemies.


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Comments

Bob Kerry has my respect. He at least has the courage to speak out on this but how much do you want to bet that only the Wall Street Journal will have this.

Diane Feinstein surprises me with her agreement but it is much appreciated. If Obama listens to the flaming liberals then he may as well just pull out instead of murdering our guys like Johnson did in Vietnam.

Vince on October 11, 2009 at 2:24 PM

If the military and intel communities are telling Obama that the idea of a “moderate Taliban” is false — and Lara Logan emphatically agrees — then where did this idea arise in the first place? It comes not from Afghanistan, but from the left wing of the Democratic Party.

I’m certain that is the textbook definition of treason.

highhopes on October 11, 2009 at 2:27 PM

If Obama listens to the flaming liberals then he may as well just pull out instead of murdering our guys like Johnson did in Vietnam.

Vince on October 11, 2009 at 2:24 PM

The current strategy needs adjustment. That much the CoIn and CT camps agree on. Because the White House has a filthy lying coward more interested in his poll numbers than American deaths- his kids are too young to fight so it isn’t important to the rat bastard traitor- he dithers. Nevermind each day of dithering means more troops are not being supported by their chain-of-command. If it doesn’t do anything for Obama it isn’t a priority.

highhopes on October 11, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Hey, look at the bright side. At least Obama can’t be accused in this case of trying to influence national intelligence. He’s just ignoring or misrepresenting it. In its own away, a straightforward approach.

J.E. Dyer on October 11, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Pakistan knows it, why can’t Obama understand?

fourdeucer on October 11, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Because there is nothing in it for the filthy lying coward. Figure out a way that you can make every comment into a “I statement” and the rat bastard traitor will be chomping at the bit to get something done in Af/Pak. Until then he couldn’t care less how many soldiers are being killed while he dithers.

highhopes on October 11, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Hey, look at the bright side. At least Obama can’t be accused in this case of trying to influence national intelligence. He’s just ignoring or misrepresenting it. In its own away, a straightforward approach.

J.E. Dyer on October 11, 2009 at 2:31 PM

That’s the bright side? Good lord, we are screwed.

highhopes on October 11, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Pelosi is the biggest thorn on this issue. She is the megaphone who keeps harping that the American people want us out of Afghanistan. Her base in San Franscisco does not represent American thinking, however. Both she and Obamao intend to redirect military spending to socialist social programs.

onlineanalyst on October 11, 2009 at 2:37 PM

The Taliban are not moderates,

They are very Islamic. Mohammad would be pleased.

and they share the same ideological, political, and tactical goals as Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

That may be the truth (for some Taliban and almost certainly is) but it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Those who are members of the Taliban are not all homogeneous enough to equate them all with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. George W. Bush himself only went after the Taliban because they twice, he even gave them another change, refused to turn over OBL. If they had turned him over we very likely would never have even gone into Afghanistan, let alone still be there 8 years later with no end in sight. Even under Bush there was some “reaching out” to some groups of the Taliban. There was also plenty of reaching out to enemies in Iraq.

Another thing, of many, that is still being lost here is McChrystal’s take on the Taliban.

We don’t win by destroying the Taliban. We don’t win by body count. We don’t win by the number of successful military raids or attacks, we win when the [Afghan] people decide we win.
– General McChrystal (in London recently)

Anyone saying anything differently is simply selling a false argument for a dishonorable retreat in the face of our enemies.

Saying something is a false argument does not make it so and the dishonorable damnation part, frankly, comes pretty close to a blood libel.

MB4 on October 11, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Both she and Obamao intend to redirect military spending to socialist social programs.

onlineanalyst on October 11, 2009 at 2:37 PM

What money is there for this? We are already writing checks without the money in the bank. Reducing military spending, a necessary cost, had better not be declared a peace dividend the way Clinton gutted national security. We simply don’t have that kind of latitude.

highhopes on October 11, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Obama is really pissing off a lot of people that take the security of this nation and the safety of it’s defenders very, VERY seriously…

Seven Percent Solution on October 11, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Provided Obummer doesn’t find a way to confiscate all of our guns first…

doriangrey on October 11, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Think about that for a moment.

Sometime in the past I believe we, the armed citizen, reached “bingo”. The election last November only suceeded in pushing the issue well past that point, so that there does not exist the chance of returning to any prior level of ownership. Sales continue at a record pace. Production to meet demand has not caught up in some interesting areas. I say bingo is wa-y-y-y behind us now.

Yoop on October 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM

The Messiah & Co. are doing he opposite of “what’s right” in every other aspect of their foreign policy. Why be surprised that they want defeat in Afghanistan, too?

n0doz on October 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM

History has no meaning to this egoist. He makes history. He, in his tiny mind, is history.
His contempt for America is palpable. His contempt for our military is far more than that.
He sees the country you and I love as Imperialist. He seeks to weaken us in every way possible.
Our reputation…trashed at his hands. Our allies…slapped in the face repeatedly. Our Armed Services Personnel? Slapped in the face repeatedly. Patriots protesting the destruction of our economy and our freedoms? Domestic terrorists…a threat to the Republic.
Obama is a liar and Truth is
killing his Marxist agenda.

Army Brat on October 11, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Obama and his advisers have begun publicly discussing the Taliban as a moderate alternative to al-Qaeda in terms of enemies, but the latest intelligence shows just the opposite.

Gee. Knock me over with a feather. The Traitor-in-Chief and hater of all things American is acting in a treasonous way. What a surprise.

The Precedent intends to do nothing but bleed America until we cry, “Uncle!”, and beg the moron from Indonesia to pull everyone out. Chances are that he’ll be unceremoniously thrown out of his occupation of the White House, first … though our nation has already consigned itself to going down the tubes, as that was the main decision of Nov 4th.

progressoverpeace on October 11, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Bob Kerrey openly wonders why the White House has begun to tread the ground of retreat, in an op-ed for today’s Wall Street Journal:

We need a new award. Let’s call it The Duh and award it to everyone who is surprised that the same guy who agitated for Iraq to be conceded to al Qaeda and Iran is now prepared to abandon Afghanistan to the Taleban and al Qaeda.

Basilsbest on October 11, 2009 at 3:50 PM

He seeks to weaken us in every way possible.

He’s succeeding. Everyone who prefers him to Palin is an idiot.

Basilsbest on October 11, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Let’s get the REAL experts’ to weigh in. And while they’re at it, could someone please ask Rosie O’Donnell if fire can melt Nobel Prizes? (You know, like, really HOT FIRE, um, like in hell)

NightmareOnKStreet on October 11, 2009 at 4:25 PM

At the rate Afghanistan is going,its going to turn
into another VN.All the Leftys need to do,is fire off
orders to their proxy groups,the Anti-War Moonbats,
with their manufactured outrage protests,have CNN spew
its getting bad,DNC talking points of withdrawl,spin
the narrative in their favour and presto,

for the second time,Afghanistan is abandoned again,and
I have no doubt,that my Canadian Military would have no
choice but to leave as well!!

Canada as well has a stake in Afghanistan,and blood,I
would really hate to see us leave,because of LIBERALS
PLAYING POLITICS!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on October 11, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Bob Kerry has my respect. He at least has the courage to speak out on this but how much do you want to bet that only the Wall Street Journal will have this.

Diane Feinstein surprises me with her agreement but it is much appreciated. If Obama listens to the flaming liberals then he may as well just pull out instead of murdering our guys like Johnson did in Vietnam.

Vince on October 11, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Agreed. There’s a good reason to keep lines of communication open with many Democrats that are always or sometimes conservative on security or fiscal or social issues. They’re not all leftist ideologues and political hacks. Even if we disagree with them 95 plus percent of the time, every once in a while, it’s helpful to work with at least some Democrats. Reagan did.

Loxodonta on October 11, 2009 at 5:00 PM

IMPEACH!!!!!

Flyboy on October 11, 2009 at 5:06 PM

If the military and intel communities are telling Obama that the idea of a “moderate Taliban” is false — and Lara Logan emphatically agrees — then where did this idea arise in the first place? It comes not from Afghanistan, but from the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Here is the problem. And the solution is 2010.

We must take back the House with at least a few extra seats to allow for wiggle room. Unfortunately, the most likely Democrats to lose are the Blue Dogs, so the remaining Democrats will be even more purely liberal. So, we need to also work on peeling off some of those liberal Democrats with moderate or libertarian Republicans who are at least conservative on protecting our nation from terrorists.

Loxodonta on October 11, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Think of this as a free market that deals in people’s lives. Zero is buying this one, but he’s going to pay for it with other people’s lives in installments.

Does it affect him? Well let’s see here, he’s backing the Taliban now which support Al Quaeda, who just declared war on China, which is incidentally where Zero has put all his investment. Go Uighers.

This is going to get even messier.

Spiritk9 on October 11, 2009 at 5:30 PM

And when Afghanistan and Pakistan fail how will he blame it on Bush?

Pull our troops now, every last one of them, rather then let them be sitting ducks.

ctmom on October 11, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Obama: “Well, the previous administration wasted 8 years neglecting Afghanistan, as I have always said, and let me be clear, I inherited a situation where the enemy was misidentified; the Taliban are really moderates and blah, blah, blah…”

I am afraid there is going to be a terrible waste of troops lives under the traitor-in-cheif as he drags them undermanned and underfunded through the mud of voting present, playing politics with their lives. I agree with ctmom – get them out of there now. And impeach the traitor for the treasonous ghoul that he is.

tigerlily on October 11, 2009 at 5:32 PM

My only regret to serving 10 years (USMC) is that its so painful to listen to BS from those that have no idea, or ideas.

obleo on October 11, 2009 at 5:40 PM

Lox, I think we are going to peel off more seats than most of the talking head pundits think are possible, in 2010.

karenhasfreedom on October 11, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Obama at war…
It’s like watching a 2 year old handling a grenade that will kill all but the 2 year old.Bang!..leaving him free to pick up another grenade and play with it as well.
Obama and the economy…(Damned Capitalists anyway!)
Bang goes the auto industry…Hummer sold to China, Chrysler to Fiat and the union. (Vampires running a Blood Bank.)
He must be pleased at the destruction he personally has accomplished. So many industries! So little time!
Health care…There are more MRI machines in Alaska, population 660 thousand, than in all of Canada… population 33 million.

Obama is a liar and Truth is
killing his Marxist agenda.

Army Brat on October 11, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Lox, I think we are going to peel off more seats than most of the talking head pundits think are possible, in 2010.

karenhasfreedom on October 11, 2009 at 6:30 PM

I think so too, Right now, it feels like an historic landslide turnover. But, the left has the overwhelming majority of news and entertainment media, stars, and academia working on their behalf, as well much of the elite of the world. And that’s a lot to work against.

So we need to bring as many people as we can into the tent, and work really hard, as if our lives and those of our children and grandchildren depend on it. Because they do.

Loxodonta on October 11, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Obama? Honest? Puhleeeeze…

DANEgerus on October 11, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Is this an accurate quotation from Obama’s Dreams from My Father: ” I will stand with my muslim brothers when the political winds blow unfavorably in their direction”?

onlineanalyst on October 11, 2009 at 7:18 PM

Mr. NPP needs a beer summit to get the Taliban to play nice.

Down with NPP, yeah you know me…

Wyznowski on October 11, 2009 at 7:51 PM

We can’t let this fool fail our troops.

ronsfi on October 11, 2009 at 8:27 PM

IMPEACH!!!!!
Flyboy on October 11, 2009 at 5:06 PM

Not going to happen so long as the traitors are in charge of the Congress. Meaning that the filthy lying coward in the White House is safe until 2011 at a minimum.

highhopes on October 11, 2009 at 9:07 PM

What!!
democrats selling out America and our troops for political reasons….how could this be?

Obama has no chance of getting away with his smoke and mirrors game in trying to run in Afghanistan.

Way to many people from world leaders,to military experts,to Obama’s own people have stated for to long how dangerous the Taliban is and the disastrous results of capitulation in this war.

On top of that, Obama has declared war on our intelligence services with his CIA prosecutions so he can expect serious leaks of intel that will expose this shell game he is trying to to play.

What an absolute disgrace and outright crime it is to have the POTUS play political games with the lives of our troops and our Nations safety.

Absolutely disgraceful.

Baxter Greene on October 11, 2009 at 9:21 PM

As the Obama administration reconsiders its Afghanistan policy, White House officials are minimizing warnings from the intelligence community, the military and the State Department about the risks of adopting a limited strategy focused on al Qaida, U.S. intelligence, diplomatic and military officials told McClatchy.

So the Obama administration is manipulating intelligence to fit around there pre-conceived policies of retreat.

Seems we heard an awful lot of yelling and screaming from liberals about “manipulating intelligence to bolster the case for war” over the last eight years.

(these allegations were proved false by the 2004 Senate intelligence report,Butler report,2008 Senate intelligence report,and 9/11 commission).

So when are we going to hear liberals yell for the impeachment of Obama and his administration officials for manipulating intelligence and lying to the American people.

I am sure liberals will be all over this considering their strong support for the rule of law…..oh,my fault,that only applies when a Republican is in the White House.

Baxter Greene on October 11, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Salesmenship. Not. Appeasement and bullshit, Yes.

BottomLine5 on October 11, 2009 at 10:54 PM

There is not a whit of difference between Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Both are evil incarnate.

Both are bloodthirsty fundamentalist fanatics.

Both hate modernity and individual freedoms.

Both view women as chattel.

In short, kill’em all and let Allah sort’em out.

More Predators, please.

hillbillyjim on October 12, 2009 at 12:47 AM

I don’t know that we have the will to win. It’s really very simple.

This is a war-weary and very broke country right now.

AnninCA on October 12, 2009 at 1:21 AM

In liberal land,you can just make things up to fit around your liberal ideology,get the press to repeat it over and over and over, hoping enough of the uninformed will start to believe it as truth.

In the real world,real enemies that share the same beliefs and goals are hoping America buys into the Obama administration’s lies so they can continue their quest for the new Caliphate.

Here are the top leaders of the Taliban and al-qaeda professing there dedication and support for each other:

Bin Laden then made a pledge of personal fealty,much like the one that members of al-qaeda swore to him.He acknowledged Omar as the leader of the faithful.

“We consider you to be our noble Emir”.

Bin Laden wrote.


“We invite all muslims to render assistance and co-operation to you,in every possible way that they can.

http://books.google.com/books?id=APt9mgmgidgC&pg=PA326&lpg=PA326&dq=mullah+omar+9/11&source=bl&ots=ASzsQHkWF7&sig=GliPzNLMuKMStv8-Y8LffLLDpfQ&hl=en&ei=zazDSqyBD5DflAe2_MHIBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CBQQ6AEwBTgo#v=onepage&q=mullah%20omar%209%2F11&f=false

You would have to be an absolute fool to look at the vast history of these jihadist working together and come to the conclusion that “We can trust the “moderate” Taliban and they won’t work with al-qaeda if we cut and run,allowing them to take the country back over”.

The Obama administration is truly stuck on stupid.

Baxter Greene on October 12, 2009 at 2:23 AM

Even the DNC doesn’t believe that there are friendly Taliban.

What would make anyone believe that the President could negotiate with any of the Taliban in Afghanistan when he can’t or won’t sit down with those the DNC calls “Taliban” here in the US of A.

J_Crater on October 12, 2009 at 7:33 AM

J_Crater on October 12, 2009 at 7:33 AM

Exactly.
The Salesman and Chief is not even man enough to go on FOX news now.

“OOOh, they hurt my feelings….Ohhh, they hold me accountable”.

Yea right, the jihadist are shaking in their boots thinking about having to deal with our Paparazzi President.

Baxter Greene on October 12, 2009 at 7:54 AM

We can’t let this fool fail our troops.
Too late…

Army Brat on October 13, 2009 at 6:18 PM

Moderate Taliban…Moderate Cancer. Both must die.

Army Brat on October 13, 2009 at 6:18 PM