November 19, 2009

Afghanistan Leakers: Making Obama, Clinton Look Foolish

Clinton McChrystal Eikenberry.jpg

Rather than taking up the right wing’s “dithering” or “what’s taking SO long” meme when it comes to Obama’s Afghan strategy (in a situation that some see as having no practical urgency) perhaps the better question to ask is, what’s with the leaks? — and, what are they costing the Administration?

Arriving for Karzai’s swearing in, this photo of Hillary makes the Secretary of State, and Obama by proxy, look like fools caught between Gen. “Surge” and Ambassador “Hold on Now.”

American Ambassador Eikenberry (a former Army Lt. Gen. and U.S. Afghan Commander) — who had two cautionary classified cables to Obama leaked last week — feels that sending additional troops only ties us more closely, in the minds of the Afghan people, to the corrupt government inaugurated today. General McChrystal, on the other hand, whose his own recommendations to Obama were leaked last month, has been pushing for 40k more troops as part of a counterinsurgency, hearts-and-minds and Afghan military training strategy.

Eickenberry’s downward, inward and more circumspect, almost skeptical express ion, coupled with the cables that were publicized, expressing reservations with our strategy, and our support of Karzai, coupled with the event at hand, the Secretary of State’s arrival in the country for Karzai’s inauguration (underpinned by Hillary and America’s front row stamp-of-approval), coupled with Hillary’s exaggerated smile (like everything is rosy) as she enters town caught between two of Obama’s warring minions makes the supposed U.S. front here painfully postured.

Absent the leaking/lobbying war playing out in public, however, the photo would indicate something pretty normal, involving component players — under one roof — with their own agendas and points-of-view. Instead, however, aided by partisan talking heads and a controversy-hungry media, we get the worst interpretation of “a team of rivals.”
(revised: 4:30pm PST. removed version of photo with illustration)

(photo: Paula Bronstein /Getty Images. caption: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) walks with U.S Ambassador to Afghan Karl Eikenberry (R) after arriving on November 18, 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan. This is her first trip to Afghanistan as U.S Secretary of State. Clinton will meet with Afghan President Karzai before he officially starts his second term of office.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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