Well, this is a promising if somewhat surprising development. The AP is reporting that President Barack Obama has rejected the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government
As usual, Seymour Hersh adds a lot of intrigue to the situation.
It seems that American Ambassador Karl Eikenberry sent two classified cables to Washington in the past week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai’s government demonstrates that it’s willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban’s rise.
Update: Fascinating article in The Nation yesterday about the “wartime contracting bazaar” that Aram Roston describes as “a virtual carnival of improbable characters and shady connections, with former CIA officials and ex-military officers joining hands with former Taliban and mujahedeen to collect US government funds in the name of the war effort.” The piece extensively details how the US military’s contractors are forced to pay suspected Taliban insurgents to protect American supply routes.
Update2: Good discussion on the pros and cons of the Afghanistan War (eight years and no end in sight…). The article mentioned at the end by Dylan Ratigan in the Huffington Post about the “shocking juxtaposition between lucky Wall Streeters and the unlucky soldiers” can be read here.
Ratigan has an interesting proposal:
• Give every single man and woman that is fighting for us a housing credit of $50,000, with the caveat that the credit must be used by someone within two years.
• Make it so that the credits are completely fungible, meaning that if the veteran doesn’t wish to buy a house, he or she can sell the credit to someone who does — and keep the money. If the reselling of gift cards on Ebay is any indication, I am sure there will be a thriving market where soldiers could probably get pretty close to 90 cents on the dollar for their credit.