Senate Passes Amendment to Withdraw From Afghanistan at “Steady Pace”

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 3:13 pm

The Senate, in an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, accepted a measure written by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) calling for a continued drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, at a “steady pace” through the end of 2014, and a close to all combat operation “at the earliest date” possible.

The news here is that Merkley got a filibuster-proof majority for that measure, for the first time, with 12 Republicans and 50 out of 51 Democrats in support (Lieberman, of course, voted no; Wyden and McCaskill didn’t vote today).

Unlikely Support for Faster Drawdown in Afghanistan From John McCain

By: Thursday September 20, 2012 6:45 am

First it was longtime Republican Rep. Bill Young. But I don’t think any political observer would be able to guess who would be the next Republican to consider a quicker timeline in Afghanistan.

Prominent Republican Defense Appropriator Turns Against War in Afghanistan

By: Wednesday September 19, 2012 8:45 am

n the heels of yesterday’s announcement that NATO forces will cease joint patrols with their Afghan counterparts after multiple incidents of Afghan army and police shooting and killing troops, a prominent Republican chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee has flipped on the war, saying that the US should now withdraw as soon as possible.

Defense Establishment Starts Bargaining on Trigger Cuts

By: Thursday June 14, 2012 6:46 am

One of the more confusing positions for Democrats in the end-of-the-year “fiscal slope” negotiations concerns where they stand on the defense trigger. Obviously, with Republicans desperate to close these cuts, at least for the first year, Democrats have an opportunity to leverage that into a better deal. However, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has undermined that by asserting that great damage would be done to national security if so much as one dime under the Administration’s budget gets cut.

Now, Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin is working on an alternative solution, where the defense budget gets lowered in this fiscal year, to cushion the blow for the trigger cuts down the road.

NATO Agrees to New Timeline for Afghanistan

By: Monday May 21, 2012 2:12 pm

NATO formally announced a new timeline for the winding down of troops in Afghanistan, agreeing to transfer responsibility for security to the Afghans by the summer of 2013, with the withdrawal of most troops timed for the end of 2014. This is a similar timeline to the exit of troops from Iraq, with a transfer [...]

Failed Mission: Bipartisan Congressional Intelligence Leaders Say Taliban Stronger After Afghan Surge

By: Monday May 7, 2012 12:00 pm

Last week the President announced in a surprise visit to Afghanistan that the US signed a long-term agreement with the country that would more or less keep an American presence there for an indefinite period. And now we have an embarrassing admission, a bipartisan agreement from the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, that the surge in Afghanistan, if its mission was to stop the advance of the Taliban in the country, completely failed its objectives.

Tragedy to Farce: US Military Changes Feng Shui on Bases in Afghanistan

By: Saturday March 31, 2012 10:00 am

In a sign of how well things are going in Afghanistan, NATO and US troops are designating guards for any time they come into contact with the Afghan security forces they’re supposed to be training.

US/Taliban Peace Talks Faltering, With Broad Implications Post-Withdrawal

By: Monday March 26, 2012 1:20 pm

The International Crisis Group has a new report out showing that the so-called reconciliation talks with the Taliban are actually going nowhere, and that civil war could result from a US continuing to lead those talks. The think tank believes that responsibility should shifted to the United Nations.

Karzai’s Double Game: Denounce US Presence, Offer Permanent Bases

By: Monday March 19, 2012 7:00 am

It appears that the US is negotiating with two heads of state. There’s the Hamid Karzai who publicly lambasted the Americans as “demons,” accuses them of “Satanic acts,” and equates the presence of US forces with the Taliban. Then there’s the Karzai who, behind the scenes, pliantly offers permanent bases to the Americans.

“Staying the Course” in Afghanistan Only Means Combat Mission Until Mid-2013

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 7:00 am

President Obama vowed to keep to his exit strategy in Afghanistan, despite the recent tragedies, including the massacre of 16 civilians in Kandahar by what the military says was a lone gunman. Like Nixon on VietNam, he believes the US can have an honorable exist.

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