Archive for the ‘Joint Chiefs’ Category

U.S. Military Chief Gives Grim View of Afghanistan

October 9, 2008

WASHINGTON — With security and economic conditions in Afghanistan already in dire straits, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that the situation there would probably only worsen next year.

“The trends across the board are not going in the right direction,” the chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters. “And I would anticipate next year would be a tougher year.”

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen ... 
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen gestures as he addresses the media in Ankara in this September 15, 2008 file photo.REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Admiral Mullen said Afghanistan was likely to continue what a new intelligence assessment calls “a downward spiral” barring rapid, major improvements to curb Afghanistan’s booming heroin trade, bolster district and tribal leaders to offset a weak central government in Kabul, breathe life into a flagging economy, and stem the flow of militants who are carrying out increasingly sophisticated attacks from safe havens in Pakistan.

Admiral Mullen struck a pessimistic note when asked about the likelihood of those badly needed changes falling into place. “Both the trends and the status specifically of where we are on those other things right now would indicate that the trends are going to continue,” he said.

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A ‘Realistic Chance’ of Success

September 14, 2007

 By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
Friday, September 14, 2007; Page A13

As always, the inadvertent slip is the most telling. Discussing the performance of British troops, Gen. David Petraeus told Sen. Joe Biden of the Foreign Relations Committee that he’d be consulting with British colleagues in London on his way back “home.” He had meant to say “Iraq,” where he is now on his third tour of duty. Is there any other actor in Washington’s Iraq war drama — from Harry Reid to the Joint Chiefs — who could have made such a substitution? Anyone who not only knows Iraq the way Petraeus does but feels it in all its gravity and complexity?

When asked about Shiite militia domination of southern Iraq, Petraeus patiently went through the four provinces, one by one, displaying a degree of knowledge of the local players, terrain and balance of power that no one in Washington — and few in Iraq — could match.

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