Monday, November 30, 2009

Doubts Mount over Obama's 'Civilian Surge' Strategy for Afghanistan

Another joke, Obama plans to deploy up to a thousand civilian "experts" into the Afghan countryside to "wean them off of opium production".  That's just a thousand hostages and or dead bodies.  That's if he can find so many fools.  State department personnel have been refusing to go to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan for years because they consider those places too dangerous and a "hardship" tour.  On top of everything else, there are not enough people even qusaalified for these positions.

What a crock.


Doubts Mount over Obama's 'Civilian Surge' Strategy for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is forging ahead with its civilian surge in Afghanistan but some experts say thousands more are needed while others fear the security situation is making the push ineffective.

In unveiling his first Afghanistan strategy in March, President Barack Obama called for increasing the number of experts to 1,000 in order to help the Kabul government serve its people and wean the economy off opium production.

Obama, due to unveil a revamped strategy on Tuesday that is expected to include some 30,000 to 35,000 more troops, stressed again last week the importance of sending civilians to accompany the military push in Afghanistan.

"It's going to be important to recognize that in order for us to succeed there, you've got to have a comprehensive strategy that includes civilian and diplomatic efforts," he told reporters.
Richard Holbrooke, Obama's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said earlier this week that some 974 civilians will be deployed by "the early weeks of next year."

A US official told AFP on condition of anonymity the figure could be higher.
Steven Metz, an analyst with the US Army War College, wrote in the New Republic magazine that the civilian surge could only succeed if Washington sent several thousand experts to Afghanistan for years at a time.
But John Dempsey, a specialist with the United States Institute of Peace who has spent the last seven years in Kabul working on reforming the Afghan justice sector, said numbers were not necessarily the key.

If the civilians are stuck mainly on a military base or with armed escorts for security reasons, "the impact of the (planned US) increase will be marginal yet expensive," Dempsey said in an email exchange with AFP.
"On the other hand, if they can recruit qualified civilians who are given proper cross-cultural training and who are able to meet with Afghans regularly in the local communities... then I think there's a real opportunity for development progress to be made."