Thursday, October 08, 2009

David Corn: "DC Decoder" - Mother Jones Mailout


Obama and Afghanistan: You Can't Handle the Truth?

This week President Obama is meeting with aides and lawmakers to discuss how to proceed in Afghanistan. So naturally, Afghanistan has been a much-discussed subject at the White House daily press briefings, and I've noticed that the administration's position has become weighed down with internal contradictions. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told me last week that Afghanistan's problems can only be solved if the US has "a willing partner, one that is free of corruption and transparent." Yet the Afghan government is a long, long way from meeting that standard. Nevertheless, on Monday, Gibbs declared that withdrawal is "not a decision that's on the table." Along with other reporters at the briefing, I pushed Gibbs on how the administration plans to reconcile this contradiction: it says it needs an effective partner to succeed, but won't consider withdrawing even in the glaring absence of such a partner. Gibbs offered that the US must do its best to make sure American lives and resources aren't squandered. But he gave no details on how the Obama administration plans to achieve this. It's a conundrum Obama needs to resolve: not just in private meetings with his advisers, but with the American people, too.—David Corn [READ MORE]

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