Wednesday, March 21, 2012

General Allen: We will stay the course in Afghanistan

Uh, what course?  Is there a plan, and what would that be?  Are we bringing democracy to Afghanistan?  Do we know what we are doing there now?  I don't see any course except the needless waste of money and lives of both innocents and soldiers.  If there is a plan we have yet to see it.

From Army Times March 19 by Lolita Baldor'

Allen: U.S. to stay the course in Afghanistan
 WASHINGTON — The U.S. must stick to its strategy in Afghanistan, including the planned withdrawal calendar, over the next several months despite recent setbacks that have tested America’s relations with the Afghans, the top U.S. commander for the war is telling Congress.

Gen. John Allen is heading to Capitol Hill Tuesday for the first time since the Koran burnings and last week’s shooting spree by a U.S. soldier inflamed anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan. The incidents spawned attacks against U.S. forces and prompted Afghan leaders to demand that American troops pull out of local villages and rural areas.

The upheaval has fueled Congressional opposition to the war, insuring that Allen will face lawmakers who are bitterly divided and increasingly skeptical of the administration’s strategy
In frank testimony prepared for delivery to the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday, Allen argues that while the last few months “have been trying,” the coalition and its Afghan allies have made progress and degraded the insurgency.
“This campaign has been long. It has been difficult, and it has been costly. There have been setbacks, to be sure, we’re experiencing them now, and there will be more setbacks ahead,” Allen says. “I wish I could tell you that this war was simple, and that progress could be easily measured. But that’s not the way of counterinsurgencies.”
Allen’s testimony, which was obtained by The Associated Press, comes at one of the most troubled points in the decade-long conflict, as election politics in America and Afghanistan, coupled with the unpopularity of the war, put unprecedented pressure on U.S. commanders to get troops home.
In recent weeks, U.S.-Afghan relations have been strained by the burning by Korans and other religious materials at a U.S. military base, followed by the massacre just over a week ago of 16 Afghans, including women and children, allegedly by an American Army soldier. Afghans were further angered when the soldier, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, was flown out of Afghanistan and taken to Fort Leavenworth’s military prison in Kansas.
The Koran burnings sparked a week of riots and retaliatory attacks that left more than 30 people dead, including six U.S. soldiers.

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