I, like many on the left, was disgusted by Bush’s “mission accomplished” electioneering victory lap in 2003, and his continual use of the military as a backdrop for his political-advertising. Unlike many on the left, I’m no less disgusted now that Obama’s doing it too.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, touching down in the war-torn country one year to the day after al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden died at the hands of elite American troops in neighboring Pakistan.
Obama planned to make a roughly 10-minute televised address to the nation at 7:30 p.m. from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
The bold emphasis is mine. I’m sure no-one thinks the timings accidental but, as an aside, am I the only one who feels it more than a little exceptionalist in the worst sense that media reporters know, and readers know, they don’t mean Obama will be giving an address to the people of the nation he’s actually in?
Meanwhile, Bernhard at Moon Of Alabama gets deeper into the weeds of those under-reported “green-on-blue” attacks I wrote about yesterday as well as examining the Pentagon’s spin as it tries to put a false gloss on figures that demonstrate alleged progress in Afghanistan.
And talking of spin – see how many lies, deceptions, PR slants and evasions you can find in this transcript of an official DoD briefing to the Pentagon press pool about the Section 1230 Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan and the official Fact Sheet on the newly signed agreement. I’ll get you started.
1) despite previous reports that the big commitments the US and its allies are to make after 2014 – troop levels and funding – are still to be decided, the briefers helpfully told reporters that “Commitments from the Afghans are specifically mentioned repeatedly in quite a bit of detail in the Strategic Partnership Agreement.” Hypocrisy in action from the occupiers? It sure smells like it. Even so, the briefers didn’t explain the all-important metrics by which progress towards those commitments will be judged by a bilateral commission to “assure the donor community that the Afghans are making the kind of progress that they need to make”. We still don’t know if we’ll ever be told what they are. Shades of measuring surge “success” and “momentum”.
2) They’ll stand up as we stand down? It’ll take at least a Friedman Unit to find out, apparently, even after 10 years and $billions of building, training, mentoring and partnering:
I think it’ll be a — certainly be a big test this summer as we have the Afghans more in the lead than we ever have before. And so I think the best time to answer your question will be in the fall after this fighting season is over, after we’ve had a chance to see how the Afghan security forces perform.
3) Perhaps the most wonderful lie by omission of all:
President Obama has been clear: we do not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan. Instead, the Strategic Partnership Agreement commits Afghanistan to provide U.S. personnel access to and use of Afghan facilities through 2014 and beyond.
Bases built by US contractors on the US government’s budget dollars, staffed and very certainly commanded by US government personnel who will be entirely immune from local laws and equipped almost exclusively with US war machines. That those aren’t going to be “permanent” or “US bases” is entirely a clever use of semantics.