"In their quest to thwart President Obama, Republicans do not fear the hobgoblin of consistency." - Dana Milbank
"You're either A) a scum-sucking, terror-loving elitist or B) a radical, tea bag-loving simpleton." - David Harsanyi
"A combination of Jesus, Mohammed, and Moses couldn't get that straightened out." - blackton
The Situation Room is a big teleconference setup, where those in the White House can converse with those outside of Washington. Bush and Cheney were very paranoid that any arguments said during a conference would get leaked to the press, and castigated their General in Afghanistan for asking for a specific number of troops one day. In contrast, almost everything said in Obama's Situation Room gets leaked to the press, including General McChrystal's asking for 40,000 more troops, to all arguments for and against any future policies: "Obama told CBS's Chip Reid that he is "angrier than Bob Gates" about the leaks surrounding his deliberations on strategy in Afghanistan." To be fair, McChrystal was his own leak with his own, independent press conference, letting everyone know his position on Afghanistan. In another world not ruled by West Point graduates, he would have been fired for his insubordination.
It's interesting that both the US Justice Dept and the Karzai government announced special anti-corruption task forces at the the same time, proving there is a certain amount of synchronicity in our world. As long as we have private contractors to show these foreign governments how to rip off the US and over-inflate their services, no real progress will ever be made. We still have companies like Blackwater employed by the State Department and the Pentagon, guess who is protecting Hillary as she attends Karzai's coronation? The same private US firm that was outed for partying and abusing the Afghani staff while guarding the embassy in Kabul has just been awarded the contract for security at the Bagdad Airport by the Iraqis. So it goes...
The hawks among us, especially Dick Cheney and his special friends, are whining that Obama is taking too long in his deliberations over Afghanistan. But Obama has to correct the mistakes that Bush, Cheney and company made during the eight years of their reign, the myopic pig-headedness of Cheney and the fantasy approach of not having a plan and sticking to it for Bush. As Condoleeza Rice admitted to David Sanger: "There would be meetings, and a recognition that we needed a more comprehensive approach. Then we'd meet again in a few months, thrash out the same problem, come up with the same solution, talk about the same comprehensive approach, and little happened." As a result, the problems in Afghanistan were left to fester while Bush tried his best to focus on Iraq. Screwed that up, too.
In contrast, Barack Obama is seeking input and listening to all sides, from the military, from the foreign policy wonks, from Germany, Britain, China, Russia, and even places like Slovakia, who has just pledged to double their force in Afghanistan. Bush invited NATO into Afghanistan, with 24 countries sending soldiers with 24 different rules of engagement. The Germans were forbidden to fight, so they sat around and drank the beer that was imported from home all day. One result is the recent report that the EU people training the Afghan police are doing a poor job... The Taliban exploited this situation, and applied the strategies they learned from the Pakistani intelligence and the US when we originally trained them as allies, easily took advantage of a weak and corrupt government who were just as violent and unforgiving as they were.
Stategies have to be developed to actually end the conflicts. We can't wipe the Taliban off the face of the earth, so must find a way to incorporate them so they will stop killing their countrymen, and can stop sending our brave sons and daughters to sacrifice their mortality. As Obama told CBS: "Whenever I visit Walter Reed or other military hospitals, I see the incredible sacrifices our men and women are making," he said. "That is a heavy weight." I, for one, feel that he is right to take his time, I pray that he will find the correct choice...
right wing mobs...
And in Russia, things have been kicked up a notch: "A young antiracist campaigner who frequently clashed with Russian nationalists has been killed in Moscow in what investigators and analysts suggest is probably part of an increasingly violent conflict between ultranationalists and groups that oppose them...Darker-skinned Russian citizens and migrant workers are frequently the targets of attacks, with dozens dying each year in racist and xenophobic murders. Violence against antifascist campaigners, however, is not uncommon." And here we thought that we were unique, right Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanon?