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Policy Chief ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Afghanistan
American Forces Press Service ^ | Donna Miles

Posted on 05/05/2010 6:21:56 PM PDT by SandRat

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2010 – The Pentagon’s top policy official told Congress today she’s “cautiously optimistic” about progress in Afghanistan as the new strategy there begins to show signs of success.

“I believe we are achieving success. We are on the right road for the first time in a long time in Afghanistan,” Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy told the House Armed Services Committee. “I would argue for the first time, we finally have the right mission, the right strategy, the right leadership team in place. And we have marshaled both the international and Afghan resources, civilian and military, to support this mission.

“Are we done yet? Absolutely not. Are there more challenges to be dealt with? Yes,” Flournoy continued. “But we are on the right path, and things are starting to move in the right direction.”

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Paxton Jr., operations director for the Joint Staff, echoed Flournoy’s appraisal.

“We are starting to see conditions that we believe are necessary for success in Afghanistan,” he said. “Among the most important of these conditions is having the right leadership and strategy in place.”

Flournoy cited progress in the troop surge to support that strategy. Nearly half of the 30,000 additional U.S. forces committed to the mission are on the ground, with the rest to arrive by late August. In addition, NATO and other coalition partners have pledged 9,000 additional troops to support the mission.

Flournoy noted other factors contributing to the turnaround. These include changes in coalition tactics to reduce civilian casualties, intensified partnerships to promote the development of Afghan national security forces, and more nonmilitary assets on the ground focused on economic and political development.

“The administration’s core goal in the region is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and ensure the elimination of al-Qaida safe havens,” she said. “A critical component of our strategy is a stable Afghanistan with the governance and capacity to ensure that Afghanistan can no longer be a safe haven for al-Qaida and insurgents.”

She cited shared interests between the United States and Afghanistan that extend beyond combating violent extremism. “We are working to develop an enduring partnership that will serve both our nations for many years to come,” she said.

The situation in Afghanistan was “pretty bleak” before President Barack Obama sent 38,000 additional troops there last spring, then ordered Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s assessment last summer, she conceded.

Paxton told the committee that McChrystal’s campaign plan, based on that assessment, is built on four requirements. It aims to protect the Afghan people, enable Afghan security forces, neutralize malign influences and support the extension of governments, he said.

“General McChrystal has gone to great lengths to ensure that all of our operations in Afghanistan … are directly tied to achieving these aims,” Paxton said.

Flournoy pointed to the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan national security force partnership during operations in Helmand – “the first large-scale effort to fundamentally change how we are doing business together -- as a sign of how much things have changed under this strategy.

“Preparations for the Helmand operation included extraordinary levels of civil-military planning and engagement with the Afghan partners at every level,” she said. “And we feel that the collaborative operational planning process was critical to giving Afghans a sense of ownership and investment in the success of our joint efforts.”

Operations in Kandahar will present fundamentally different challenges, she said, and will require coalition forces to adapt to changing conditions.

“I don’t want to suggest that achieving success in Afghanistan will be simple or easy. Far from it,” Flournoy emphasized. “Inevitably we’ll face challenges, possibly setbacks, even as we achieve success. We need to recognize that things may get harder before they get better.”

As the coalition confronts the insurgency in new ways, the enemy can be expected to find new ways to respond. “To maintain our momentum, we will need to continuously refine and adapt our own tactics,” she said.

Flournoy expressed confidence that the elements required for them to succeed are in place and taking shape.

“Afghanistan is our No. 1 priority,” she said. “General McChrystal knows that he can ask for what he needs. The president has given the secretary of defense [authority] to provide for additional forces, particularly for force protection as needed. And as we move forward, we will continue to refine our approach, and I believe we will continue to make progress.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; US: District of Columbia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; cautiously; frwn; nsp; nss; optimistic

1 posted on 05/05/2010 6:21:56 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: Clive; girlangler; fanfan; DirtyHarryY2K; Tribune7; manic4organic; U S Army EOD; Chode; tillacum; ..
FR WAR NEWS!
If you would like to be added to / removed from FRWN,
please FReepmail Sandrat.

WARNING: FRWN can be an EXTREMELY HIGH-VOLUME PING LIST!!

2 posted on 05/05/2010 6:22:38 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat

This is a joke. Right?


3 posted on 05/05/2010 6:52:56 PM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: MestaMachine

Nope. Check the source link.


4 posted on 05/05/2010 6:54:16 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat
NATO scrapped a helicopter assault by hundreds of U.S. and Afghan troops last week because the Afghans weren't able to take charge:

http://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-48201020100503

We are years away from defeating the enemy if, politically, we have to wait for the Afghans to lead the fight. Afghanistan is arguably the most under-developed country in the world and will need very expensive-to-deliver handouts for decades.

5 posted on 05/05/2010 6:57:31 PM PDT by gandalftb (OK State: Go Cowboys)
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To: SandRat

I meant they cannot possibly be serious. Do they think we’re blind, deaf, dumb, and stupid?


6 posted on 05/05/2010 7:13:34 PM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: 444Flyer; Saoirise

You guys gotta see this.


7 posted on 05/05/2010 7:15:08 PM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: MestaMachine

You are the most negative SOB on the planet. Are you related to Frantzie?


8 posted on 05/05/2010 7:24:16 PM PDT by verity (Obama Lies - Obongo must go!)
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To: SandRat

Progress to what exactly?


9 posted on 05/05/2010 7:27:06 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: MestaMachine

Danger: The liberals have taken over the Pentagon!


10 posted on 05/05/2010 7:38:41 PM PDT by 444Flyer (We shall not be moved.)
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To: MestaMachine

Yes to all three.


11 posted on 05/05/2010 7:44:05 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: MestaMachine

Keep in mind, Rosa Brooks works closely with Ms. Flournoy. Nuf’ said.

“EDITORIAL: A disaster for Defense

It’s like making Jane Fonda senior adviser on Vietnam”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/24/a-disaster-for-defense-its-like-making-jane-fonda-/


12 posted on 05/05/2010 7:54:30 PM PDT by 444Flyer (We shall not be moved.)
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To: MestaMachine
THANKS! This just caps the week, OMG where do they get these morons from??!!??

FTA: Paxton told the committee that McChrystal’s campaign plan, based on that assessment, is built on four requirements. It aims to protect the Afghan people, enable Afghan security forces, neutralize malign influences and support the extension of governments, he said.

Yeah, right McLoser, you forgot to say your policies and insane ROE's are sending our Sons home in body bags.

13 posted on 05/05/2010 9:22:12 PM PDT by Saoirise (Frank Wuterich - Fall guy for a rigged PC investigation)
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To: gandalftb

When Marines went into Falujah, they over ran insurgent infested buildings that after clearing, were found to house Reuters specific gear and personnel along with the insurgent scum.

MSM is to be distrusted, in general. Reuters in particular.


14 posted on 05/05/2010 9:34:30 PM PDT by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: verity

Listen up, whoever you are. You don’t call me names. You don’t ask me personal questions. And you don’t come to a live thread braindead. Get it?


15 posted on 05/05/2010 10:35:49 PM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: 444Flyer; Jet Jaguar; STARWISE

I swear before heaven. What this administration has snafued in the past year has undone 200 years. What in G-d’s name will he do to make sure we are snafued for the NEXT 200 years?
Did you notice in the above article, NOTHING was said about reducing casualties to our own troops or THEIR protection?
Meanwhile, zebam rolls on.
*********
A review of Ms. Brooks’ published work reveals her hard-left, rabidly ideological positions on defense matters. She regularly referred to Mr. Bush as a war criminal, and argues that Bush-era policies on terrorism - which prevented any major attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001 - made America less secure. Referring to Mr. Bush and former Vice President Richard Cheney, she wrote, “They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment.” She has called al Qaeda “little more than an obscure group of extremist thugs” and wrongly predicted that the surge in Iraq was “a feckless plan” that would prove “too little, too late.” Putting her in the policy shop “is like Lyndon Johnson making Jane Fonda a senior adviser on Vietnam,” the former Pentagon adviser says. She frequently criticizes what she sees as a pro-Israel bias in U.S. policy.

The immediate worry is the influence Ms. Brooks can have on the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review. The review sets strategic priorities for the department. Strategic documents frequently start as consensus documents in which various components independently submit their take on a given issue, then the differences are ironed out. Who holds the pen is critical at the latter stages of this process. Subtle changes in the language - a word changed here or there, a sentence added or deleted - can have dramatic impact.

We saw this with the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iranian nuclear capabilities. A few sentences in the summary of that document spun it in a way that suggested Iran was not seeking a nuclear capability, when a closer detailed reading revealed that the intelligence community believed Iran could have a nuclear weapon as early as 2010. But the damage was done, and 2010 is coming soon.


16 posted on 05/05/2010 10:46:28 PM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: SandRat; 444Flyer; MestaMachine; STARWISE; Nachum; JustPiper

“the new strategy there begins to show signs of success.”

What strategy?!!!!!!!!!!

Obama. you were to have presented a National Security Strategy in July/August 2009.

We are still waiting.

And note: Changing ROE’s are not a National Security Strategy.

Goldwater-Nichols is clear. Obama, you are failing the troops and snubbing congress. Oh, and breaking the law.


17 posted on 05/05/2010 10:54:53 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (*)
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To: SandRat; verity
Taliban suicide squad attacks Afghan government compound; 13 dead including 9 bombers

Taliban suicide bombers disguised as police attacked a government compound Wednesday in southwestern Afghanistan in an assault that left 13 people dead, including a provincial council member and all nine attackers, authorities said.

Eight of the bombers blew themselves up and police shot the ninth, President Hamid Karzai's office said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which came as the provincial council was meeting in Zaranj.

In other violence, the Interior Ministry reported three explosions Wednesday that targeted the vehicles of private development companies in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Zabul.

The ministry said one person was killed and 11 were wounded in the blasts.

The top official at the U.N.'s refugee agency said Wednesday that security in Afghanistan has deteriorated in recent months to the extent that foreign staff are unable to travel to half of the country.

The agency has to rely on local staff or Afghan partner organizations to reach tens of thousands of refugees it is trying to aid, said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

"There was a worsening security situation in the recent past," he told reporters in Geneva. "Access of our international staff to the territory is now limited to about 50 percent."

Kandahar has seen deadly insurgent violence in recent weeks, prompting the U.N. to scale down operations there. The looming NATO operation and ongoing crime and insecurity have rattled the region where the Taliban were formed and still have considerable support.

On Wednesday, NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz said the Kandahar operation will not be a typical military campaign, but will try to "address the complexity of problems we have."

Asked whether the people of Kandahar support the operation, Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said, "We are working on this."

***************************
But hey! We're winning.


18 posted on 05/05/2010 11:15:59 PM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: MestaMachine

Kiss my ass, punk.


19 posted on 05/06/2010 4:18:44 AM PDT by verity (Obama Lies - Obongo must go!)
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To: verity

Har! Not even with YOUR lips, darlin’.
What is your major malfunction anyway?
Did somebody steal your rubber ducky or what?


20 posted on 05/06/2010 5:12:10 AM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: MestaMachine

How can I respond to such clever commentary..........


21 posted on 05/06/2010 5:23:18 AM PDT by verity (Obama Lies - Obongo must go!)
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To: verity

How can you not? LOL


22 posted on 05/06/2010 6:42:10 AM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: MestaMachine
“...she’s “cautiously optimistic”...

Call me back ‘Ms.’ Flournoy when you allow our Boys to kick ass and take names. Actually, allow them to rid the nation of the Taliban and bring our Heroes home instead of playing war and risking their lives with your administration's ROE’s daily.

And tell your Boss, the Taliban can't be negotiated with or trusted and that our troops should be scorch earthing the poppy fields and anything outside of that is immoral and downright wicked of Obama and team and only supplies our enemies with the financial tools they need to destroy our troops and more Americans!

Instead you put out a politically correct line of B.S. about being “cautiously optimimistic’. You idiot's dither around with words while our men are on the front lines risking it all of being blown up daily because you dither and dather like this is all a political game. And with the elections just around the corner, you HAVE to say something that appears ‘positive’ right?!!

I'm ‘cautiously optimistic’ about that!

23 posted on 05/06/2010 6:54:15 AM PDT by 444Flyer (We shall not be moved.)
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To: Saoirise
BTTT

God bless our troops! They are doing an outstanding job considering what they are up against, both foreign and domestic.

24 posted on 05/06/2010 7:04:27 AM PDT by 444Flyer (We shall not be moved.)
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To: 444Flyer

It’s like they think we stopped paying attention so they can say whatever they damn well please...and don’t expect anyone to call them on it.
I’ve been hearing that conditions on the ground are worse than they have ever been for our guys.
Been sending and sending stuff but it’s ssslowww going and gone too fast.
The other nato allies are complaining vociferously because they have been trying to eradicate the opium,and the US is lagging to the point of doing almost nothing to stop it. Bumper crop this year.
Semper Fi


25 posted on 05/06/2010 7:04:34 AM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: MestaMachine
Well, the BObama's like to write their own history and make up their own stories dontchaknow! How DARE you bring up the facts!


26 posted on 05/06/2010 7:19:53 AM PDT by 444Flyer (We shall not be moved.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

“We are still waiting..”

And not holding our breath.*sigh*


27 posted on 05/06/2010 7:21:26 AM PDT by 444Flyer (We shall not be moved.)
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To: 444Flyer

Where the heck did THAT come from? Holy cow!


28 posted on 05/06/2010 7:25:42 AM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: MestaMachine

LOL! ‘To infinity and beyond’ ARGH!


29 posted on 05/06/2010 7:35:51 AM PDT by 444Flyer (We shall not be moved.)
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To: 444Flyer

Well I guess we “punks” could learn something from watching all those moves. Heh.


30 posted on 05/06/2010 8:00:58 AM PDT by MestaMachine (De inimico non loquaris sed cogites- Don't wish ill for your enemy; plan it)
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To: SandRat; Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ..

The list, ping


31 posted on 05/06/2010 8:14:33 AM PDT by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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