Petraeus: “The commitment to Afghanistan is necessarily … an enduring one”

posted at 4:36 pm on June 29, 2010 by Allahpundit

The money bit from his opening statement at this morning’s confirmation hearing. “Commitment” can mean many things — foreign aid, military trainers, or, er, 90,000+ troops — so he’s careful not to be too specific lest he make any promises that The One won’t keep. He was more candid in his written answers to the Armed Services Committee, though:

But even in his own writing to the committee, Petraeus acknowledged that the enemy, the Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan, are waiting out the coalition and biding their time until foreign forces decide to leave.

“Insurgent leaders view their tactical and operational losses in 2010 as inevitable and acceptable. The Taliban believe they can outlast the Coalition’s will to fight and believe this strategy will be effective despite short-term losses. The Taliban also believe they can sustain momentum and maintain operational capacity,” he wrote.

Note the part about Taliban losses this year being “inevitable.” According to an NYT piece this morning, special-ops wizard Stan McChrystal has been putting quite a hurt on jihadi middle management lately, icing 130 capos in just 120 days. What’s that doing to Taliban morale? David Ignatius reports:

Taliban prisoners have told U.S. interrogators that this pounding in Afghanistan — coupled with attacks by Predator drones on their havens in Pakistan — has taken a psychological toll. According to the senior military official, lower-level fighters complain, “Hey, we’re doing all the dying out here,” and ask their commanders, “How much longer can we put up with this?”

The answer: Just 12 more months, assuming Obama agrees with Pelosi’s diktat about a “serious drawdown.” One of Petraeus’s goals here, very obviously, is to undo that glimmer of hope in the enemy’s mind in the expectation that it’ll push them closer to the bargaining table. That’s one form of pressure; the other, not seen in either clip below, is the heavy-handed hints he’s dropping about relaxing the rules of engagement. Danger Room:

McChrystal went further in restricting troops’ ability to use force than Petraeus did in Iraq. McChrystal cut way back on the use of air cover for U.S. troops in firefights, instructed them to give Afghans the right of way on highways, and urged them to cut off battles when insurgents retreat to populated areas. The biggest overlooked aspect of Michael Hastings’ Rolling Stone piece that ended McChrystal’s career was the frustration troops in Afghanistan felt under the rules of engagement — fairly or unfairly.

So, to send a new signal to those troops, Petraeus called it a “moral imperative” to allow troops “all the support they need when they are in a tough situation.” He said discussed it with the Afghan leadership over the last few days and indicated that he secured their “full agreement” for that principle.

Follow the link and read the update for how Petraeus is framing the rule change. He doesn’t want to embarrass McChrystal by declaring that his ROEs were too restrictive, so instead he’s spinning it as a case of some of the rank-and-file not having understood what big Mac wanted them to do. To-may-to, to-mah-to: Whatever he needs to say to make this go down smoothly, let him say it. Two clips for you, then, one of his opening statement and the other of his exchange with Lindsey Graham, who wanted to know what Petraeus thought of Barbara Lee’s idea to condition funding for the war on delivery of a withdrawal strategy by the Pentagon to Congress. You’ll have to watch to the end for Petraeus to say the magic words — “conditions-based” — but they’re there. Exit question: Per Gallup, 58 percent support Obama’s July 2011 “transition” timetable. If the mission flounders for another six months and that inches up to 66-67 percent or so, how’s The One going to resist the political pressure next year to get out? Click the first image to watch.


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He had better watch his tongue – he might end up getting sacked and replaced with Gen McChrystal.

Vashta.Nerada on June 29, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Petraeus: “The commitment to Afghanistan is necessarily … an enduring one”

July 2011 is just fiction, libs…just like closing Gitmo and ending the war in Iraq, and etc…

The hilarity for the libs and the Europeans, but I repeat myself.

Schadenfreude on June 29, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Politically Unreliable. The Cardinal Sin in a Democrat’s Eyes.

Holger on June 29, 2010 at 4:42 PM

If the mission flounders for another six months and that inches up to 66-67 percent or so, how’s The One going to resist the political pressure next year to get out?

Perhaps Gen. Petraeus can threaten to run against him.

Schadenfreude on June 29, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Get out now . Son of a gun , that beast Hillary was right after all .

borntoraisehogs on June 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Bring the troops home ASAP.

angryed on June 29, 2010 at 4:48 PM

with Winter coming, he needs to do the damage now and then in the Spring

jp on June 29, 2010 at 4:49 PM

His mouth is writing a check Obama’s a** won’t cash.

novaculus on June 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM

I can’t wait to see which Senator has the balls to vote no.

Red Cloud on June 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM

with Winter coming, he needs to do the damage now and then in the Spring

jp on June 29, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Isn’t the winter an advantage for the coalition against the Taliban.

the_nile on June 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM

We have witnessed what withdrawal and defunding has led to in the past, of course the liberals will set the agenda and our military will get the hardship and the blame when their agenda is achieved.

fourdeucer on June 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Taliban prisoners have told U.S. interrogators that this pounding in Afghanistan — coupled with attacks by Predator drones on their havens in Pakistan — has taken a psychological toll. According to the senior military official, lower-level fighters complain, “Hey, we’re doing all the dying out here,” and ask their commanders, “How much longer can we put up with this?”

Look for Petraeus to step up the pace of dying Taliban. If he could kick Al Qaeda out of Anbar Province, he can kick the Taliban out of Afghanistan.

The Taliban believe they can outlast the Coalition’s will to fight and believe this strategy will be effective despite short-term losses.

Read between the lines: Petraeus to Obama: Don’t pull us out next July!

If Petraeus and the troops haven’t clearly decimated the Taliban by next July, he should ask for and be granted more time. No general, or President, has to keep promises made to our enemies. You know, Obama didn’t close Gitmo by last January either. Oopsies.

Steve Z on June 29, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Isn’t the winter an advantage for the coalition against the Taliban.

the_nile on June 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Taliban commanders have a habit of leaving during the winter. Basically, a winter offensive could capture large swaths of territory, kill lots of Taliban fighters and the Taliban couldn’t do anything about it until Spring where they would be much much weaker.

Holger on June 29, 2010 at 4:55 PM

The Taliban believe they can outlast the Coalition’s will to fight

 
OMG! How could we have not seen this coming!

rogerb on June 29, 2010 at 5:01 PM

The war on terror cannot be won until our troops are allowed to shoot first.

Tommy_G on June 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

From the outset of obama’s withdrawal date pledge, the administration has couched it in uncertainty. Obama was definite, but then Hillary was sent out to basically say that he didn’t really mean it. Thus he gave himself a lot of wiggle room, but at the expense of encouraging our enemies. Lately though it sounds like he means to stay on the battlefield until the job is done. I hope Petraeus isn’t being set up as a fall guy, because obama has proven he will throw anyone under the bus when advantageous. No matter what his words are, I can’t feel comfortable with this guy running a war.

paul1149 on June 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

I thought things died down in the winter, perhaps Petraus does a Winter offensive?

jp on June 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM

OT, but no where else to post:
http://www.alenapopova.ru/runet/online-shkola-dlya-startaperov-anna-chapman.html

Videos of that Russian “spy” chick. You know the one:
http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/11767194_DQ989#830939761_TNtco

Abby Adams on June 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Obama will withdraw in 2012 and make r nominee defend war. Afghan is being built up by our money for the future Taliban overlords.

PrezHussein on June 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM

If he says the wrong thing…what does Obama do?
I guess it is beyond hope that Obama has been set up?

right2bright on June 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM

I still can’t get over the stupidity of Obama’s demoting General Petraeus to make him the AF-PAK theater commander. Utterly stupid. Now, we’re down a 4-star, giving him the chance to install another left-wing general, like Weasely Clark or Prostate Powell. Then the ROE will ban everything offensive, up to and including harsh language.

Virus-X on June 29, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Ugh,tap-dancing with Grahams question!!

canopfor on June 29, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Isn’t the winter an advantage for the coalition against the Taliban.

the_nile on June 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Not really. The Taliban tend to hole up in the mountains, or take off their uniforms and blend into cities, during the winter. They wreak their greatest havoc during the warm months when they’re not snowed in. They also strike during the warm months to plunder supplies they will need during the winter.

Petraeus and the troops need to use their COIN strategy to befriend the Afghans and rat out the Taliban during the summer and fall, keeping some troops on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border to prevent the Taliban from fleeing into Pakistan. Then get them trapped in the mountains over the winter, and bomb them from the air.

The problem with Obama’s telegraphing a withdrawal in July 2011 is that the Taliban could hide in Pakistan for a year, then come streaming over the border when we leave. Dumb move, Mr. President…

Steve Z on June 29, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Nothing has changed in 7 decades.

The Left was perceived as favoring appeasement or negotiation or acceptance of enemies sworn to destroy America. The Progressive Party, Henry Wallace’s soapbox, quickly issued a statement saying that firing MacArthur “makes a profound re-direction to peace possible.” Within days the party that symbolized the ideas that would come to dominate the American Left over the next seven decades — right up until today — was calling a meeting “to chart a course” for “peace” — a peace that was widely interpreted by millions of Americans as appeasement, pacifism, or worse. The Right, on the other hand — anticipating Ronald Reagan by four decades — favored outright victory over the Soviet Union and Communism itself. Period.

Schadenfreude on June 29, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Been following the Saga Of Hopey since his nominee,
and with all of todays news,and still 7 hours yet to
go for this day,

I’m am inexplicable perplexed about this FUBAR SNAFU
of Team Liberal!!!

TWILIGHT ZONE IT IS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on June 29, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Willing suspension of disblief strikes Senior White House staff.

Sec. Clinton corrects the Tuzla Dash story to include Gen. Petraeus using his body to shield her against sniper fire.

Sinbad still laughing.

BobMbx on June 29, 2010 at 5:15 PM

There’s only so much a general can do when his CinC is a pantywaist and a leftist idealogue.

OhioCoastie on June 29, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Someone needs to tell Nanzi Pelosi.

jukin on June 29, 2010 at 5:25 PM

The message?

That the American military thinks the Obama team is not up to the job of defeating Al Qaeda and winning a war which it is even terrified of calling by name. That those on the front line in a life-and-death struggle with a serious enemy think the President a wimp, the Vice President a blowhard, the national security adviser a “clown,” Ambassador Richard Holbrooke a man consumed by the need for relevance, and that the French act like…well…the French.

Schadenfreude on June 29, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Petraeus: “The commitment to Afghanistan is necessarily … an enduring one”

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools, the way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (Shakespeare)

Tav on June 29, 2010 at 7:18 PM

He doesn’t want to embarrass McChrystal by declaring that his ROEs were too restrictive, so instead he’s spinning it as a case of some of the rank-and-file not having understood what big Mac wanted them to do.

Really? He thinks American troops are even stupider than Kerry thinks they are? Did Petraeus’s tongue catch fire when he told this whopper?

Tav on June 29, 2010 at 7:24 PM

so instead he’s spinning it as a case of some of the rank-and-file not having understood what big Mac wanted them to do. To-may-to, to-mah-to: Whatever he needs to say to make this go down smoothly, let him say it

..”didn’t understand the ROE???”…

……. I would not want to say this to Hawk without some serious distance or bullet proof glass in between us…..

… I love Petreaus to death but this reasoning is absolutely ridiculous.

……It is what it is…just so the necessary changes are made.

Baxter Greene on June 29, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Praise of Obama

He confounded me. I expected The One to cut and run months ago.

I think that I did hear him attacking the war when W was in charge. Boy, did that position ever change.

The beautiful part is that fact that the left doesn’t know to cry or cheer. Poor MSNBC has to keep going back to attack W in their “war coverage”. They seem to find O pretty invisible as a target but they are starting to take shots. Although the shots are about as deadly as poor Hillary’s sniper fire.

And we have a Prez who stopped the dictator lovin’ at love talk, kissing and foreplay when I thought the whole thing was going to be X rated and painful.

Things could be much worse.

IlikedAUH2O on June 30, 2010 at 1:37 AM

Obama abused and sabotaged McChrystal by stipulating the time table for departure and expectations for our FRIENDLY military to achieve as the basis for McChrystal’s report, subsequently McChrystal’s efforts. Obama requested McChrystal, the epitome of a hard nosed warrior and NON-PC diplomat, to draw our military out of the mountains and back into urban centers. Obama’s first speech to the military after his inauguration stipulated a laundry list of duties beyond war fighting that Obama ordered them to fulfill–to be the Afghan people’s friends, teachers, farmers, mayors, diplomats, doctors, whatever Afghans need. And McChrystal was the General ordered to meet the Obama-Kissinger unattainable PC demands in Afghanistan.

As the CIA prepared to report to the media the miserable US military’s circumstances in Afghanistan, Obama was forced to CHANGE not only an updated war strategy. Gen.Petraeus met all Obama’s current needs, particularly the diplomat with Congress and international politicians. That may well protect Petraeus in the media, having the right connections. But regardless of who our forces general is, shifty Obama remains CinC with the conviction that the US should NOT lead international affairs, but should only be cooperative with OTHER’S demands.

“A Turning Point in the War” by Tunku Varadarajan
The Daily Beast

Showing his diplomatic finesse…as senators questioned him repeatedly on the deadline, Gen. Petraeus stuck calmly, yet adamantly, to his position that July 2011 would be the point at which “a responsible drawdown begins,” but one whose “pace [would] be determined by conditions.”

The hearings are making clear that Petraeus, in addition to being the right man for the Afghanistan job, will also be a massive political asset to President Obama, allowing him, without losing too much face, to drag back from his rash July 2011 deadline for withdrawal. Petraeus will give him cover for any other reassessment of plans. The White House also hopes that the hearings will generate confidence that the president knows what he’s doing in the Afghanistan war. (And in that sense, he is very lucky that the McChrystal episode occurred!)

That “Petraeus Effect” will be a powerful factor. As everyone knows, Petraeus would be on an impossible mission if he had to achieve success by the ostensible deadline; the fact that he has embarked on the mission at all, and has stressed that withdrawal will be shaped not by dogma but by conditions on the ground, should set the Taliban back on their heels, too. One wonders how the general’s line—”If you get your teeth into the jugular of the enemy, you don’t let go”—went down in Quetta, and in the Taliban sanctuaries on the AfPak border.

Charles Hill, a professor at Yale and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, tells me that “these Petraeus hearings are the most consequential single moment in this war, just as Bush’s January 10, 2007 speech on the Iraq surge was for that war.” Hill, the author of “Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order,” adds: “Underneath it all, liberals must fear that by naming Petraeus to this job, Obama has made himself hostage to Petraeus, who can succeed and be a hero, or fail and blame Obama.”

Obama, for his part, has a third calculus: Petraeus can succeed, and make Obama look like the statesman who won us the war. For on the evidence of the hearings, Petraeus is a man who not only has his commander-in-chief’s measure, but also his confidence. And in this unlikely alliance of floundering president and professional soldier lies America’s best hope, for now, of winning the war.

maverick muse on June 30, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Nothing has changed in 7 decades.

The Right, on the other hand — anticipating Ronald Reagan by four decades — favored outright victory over the Soviet Union and Communism itself. Period.

Schadenfreude on June 29, 2010 at 5:09 PM

As ever, Patton was right.

Given Patton’s recent passing, as well as MacArthur’s own infamous blundering at the onset of WWII, he was right about WINNING the Korean War that Truman and the UN dragged the US into battling, only to pull out support after leaving our forces without necessary strategy and protection/NUMBERS from superior enemy forces/NUMBERS. Korea should NEVER have been a ground war, slaughtering our troops ordered to take one bare hill after another, only to be ordered to relinquish whatever hill they were on. MacArthur was right to demand warfare by air superiority and bombings, including the ultimate weaponry. AS IF Truman and the UN were being “nicer” rejecting their only means to win and return home victors. Truman, whose vanity posted that “the buck stops here” on his desk, was the ultimate PC buck passer, leaving the Korean War ongoing to victimize every subsequent generation with the threat we face today from the insane Kim, and leaving the North Koreans victims of starvation by their Communist leaders all these generations.

maverick muse on June 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Follow the link and read the update for how Petraeus is framing the rule change. He doesn’t want to embarrass McChrystal by declaring that his ROEs were too restrictive, so instead he’s spinning it as a case of some of the rank-and-file not having understood what big Mac wanted them to do.

That’s at least somewhat plausible. It’s entirely possible that McChrystal didn’t intend the ROE to be quite as restrictive as they were, and that others below him were overcautious.

What we know for sure is how the ROE wound up, regardless of the reason. And for that McChrystal necessarily gets the responsibility and the blame, no matter how politely and discreetly Petraeus puts it.

tom on June 30, 2010 at 12:33 PM