No victory or something like that 199

Just when a discovery of vast mineral wealth provides at last a good reason for America to win the war in Afghanistan – and not just win but conquer , and not just conquer but even better colonize the country, though that of course is a notion that will never even be considered – the lefty establishment so feebly in charge is despairing of winning even a few battles against the barefoot militia of  primitive Taliban terrorists. Of course the magnificent American military could win easily, but not if their commanders don’t give the right orders, and tie the hands of their soldiers with crazy rules of engagement, and force their fighters to act as social workers, and make them uncertain about the worth of the campaign by giving the enemy a date when they’ll be withdrawn.

That’s what Gates and (laugh out loud) Commander-in-Chief Obama are doing to them, and it’s enough to make a good commander, like General Petraeus, faint! (Which he did while declaring that he supported the announced date of withdrawal.)

The Washington Times reports on the subdued despair spreading through the Pentagon:

A series of political and military setbacks in Afghanistan has fed anxiety over the war effort in the past few weeks, shaking supporters of President Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy and confirming the pessimism of those who had doubts about it from the start.

The concerns, fed largely by unease over military operations in southern Afghanistan that are progressing slower than anticipated, spurred lawmakers to schedule last-minute hearings this week to assess progress on the battlefield and within the Afghan government. …

Strong Taliban resistance and lagging Afghan government participation have slowed progress in Marja, a district at the center of the Helmand campaign, creating the image that things have not been going as well as anticipated.

That image was compounded last week when Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the military operations in Kandahar would not begin in force until September. …

In public statements last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sought to tamp down expectations that results would be definitive by December.

“We are going to have to show by the end of the year that our strategy is on the right track and making some headway,” Gates said. “I don’t think anyone has any illusions that we’ll be done or that there will be big victories or something like that. ..

Others are [even] more doubtful. “It’s clear the Marja operation did not go as smoothly as expected,” said Frederick Jones, spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). Kerry, he added, “is concerned that the Taliban is reestablishing itself there.”

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has traveled to Afghanistan, said he was “decidedly dubious” of the Obama administration’s war strategy from the start. “I’m trying to see how a year from now we’ll be in any better position than we are today. It’s difficult for me to see a way out here.” …

Even within the military, there are concerns, and “I sense the same division of opinion,” said Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations… “Some folks are very worried that the picture in December is going to look like it’s not worth the price,” said Biddle, a defense expert who was part of a planning group recruited by McChrystal last year to help formulate a new war strategy.

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