This is leading most of the morning newscasts today. Yesterday Gen. David Petraeus began what the New York Times is calling a “a campaign on Sunday to convince an increasingly skeptical public that the American-led coalition” can still succeed in Afghanistan. He did a full hour on Meet the Press with David Gregory and then turned around and gave an hourlong interview to the Times. The takeaway? Probably we are not leaving Afghanistan next summer. From the Times:
The general argued against any precipitous withdrawal of forces in July 2011, the date set by President Obama to begin at least a gradual reduction of the 100,000 troops on the ground. General Petraeus said that it was only in the last few weeks that the war plan had been fine-tuned and given the resources that it required. “For the first time,” he said, “we will have what we have been working to put in place for the last year and a half.”
Petraeus also clarified the goal in Afghanistan, sort of. He told David Gregory that what we are aiming for is “Afghan good enough.”
At the end of the day, it’s not about their embrace of us, it’s not about us winning hearts and minds, it’s about the Afghan government winning hearts and minds. This isn’t to say that there is any kind of objective of turning Afghanistan into Switzerland in three to five years or less. Afghan good enough is good enough, and that means having traditional social organizing structures as part of the ultimate solution, if you will, where tribal shura councils and so forth — which are quite democratic, by the way — they then connect at the district or province level with what goes up to Kabul and, and, and comes out as well.
Gregory also had Petraeus use a pointer to demonstrate what packets of Pakistan posed the biggest threat to us and revealed that no one knows where Osama bin Laden is but that all indications are he’s very remote. Watch below.
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