Afghan Decision on Hold

Whew! The winds continue to shift from hawk to dove. The current situation is already well into my dreams territory, but the latest development pushes it into my wildest dreams zone. Look who's leading the charge for slowing down an escalation: Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Rahm Emanuel made a concerted effort (wait, they're still Democrats, right?) on Sunday's talk shows to put a brake on the decision until the Afghan political situation is settled. The headline from the Los Angeles Times :
U.S. says credible partner in Afghanistan is crucial
As the presidential election dispute drags on, White House officials say Afghan leaders must form a stable government that the public sees as credible and legitimate.
Afghan vote chartSo far, I don't see this story getting much play. Hopefully Republican criticism will generate some buzz soon.

Digging around, I did find a public effort by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to limit the mission of the increased forces into training the Afghan army, instead of counter-insurgency. I kept hearing about opposition in Congress to General McChrystal's request, but rarely see a direct quote from anyone, much less a full article about it. Bravo, Wall Street Journal.

Click the map to go to another of the New York Times' excellent interactive graphics.

UPDATE: Some would think the peaceniks at the NYT and WaPo would trumpet this development. Well, think again. The Grey Lady's story, "Decision on Afghan Troops May Wait" appeared on page A9. The Neo-Con Daily printed "Emanuel says U.S. must gauge viability of government in Afghanistan" on A8. John Kerry did his interview from Kabul. Emanuel was on both CBS and CNN. But this story has no legs. Liberal media bias, eh?

UPDATE II: Maybe I was bit too hasty. It appears that the administration's pronouncements were purely designed to force President Karzai to accept that massive fraud took place in the first round of the election. Oh, well, at least I have some optimism left. A run-off vote is being scheduled and there is talk of a power-sharing arrangement with Abdullah Abdullah, although there isn't a clear constitutional path to accomplish the latter. With regard to the first update, I still think that the press was remiss in not diving deeper into the possibility of holding up deployments, even if the strategy decision itself would be announced soon. The press doesn't deserve credit for knowing that Kerry's and Emanuel's statements were pure posturing for a foreign audience. More likely, the bump in the escalation road didn't fit the standard narrative, so it was shoved to the back of the bus.

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