Thursday, December 16, 2010

We’re going to have to continue to stand up

Introducing the Afghan-Pakistan Annual Review (spoiler alert: two thumbs up), Obama said, “It’s important to remember why we remain in Afghanistan.” Because everything we’ve done there in nine years has failed?

In case you’re wondering, we remain in Afghanistan because of 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!

HUNKERED: “In short, al Qaeda is hunkered down.”

OBAMA DOES NOT WANT YOU TO MAKE A MISTAKE: “But make no mistake -- we are going to remain relentless in disrupting and dismantling that terrorist organization.”

AFGHANISTAN IS A PRECIOUS NEWBORN KITTEN: “In many places, the gains we’ve made are still fragile and reversible.”

AL QAIDA GET TO HUNKER WHILE WE HAVE TO STAND: “We’re going to have to continue to stand up.”

Are everyone’s lips pursed? Then we’ll begin.

The report’s unclassified summary consists entirely of clichés and vague generalities.

SEE, AND YOU DIDN’T THINK WE HAD A CORE GOAL: “The core goal of the U.S. strategy in the Afghanistan and Pakistan theater remains to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al-Qa’ida in the region”. There’s that disrupt, dismantle & defeat thing again. Obama has been repeating this since alliterative catchphrase since the start of his presidency, and I’ve long since run out of amusing alliterative additions to it. The Pentagon, however, seems to have caught the bug, and one or more of the Big D triumvirate tends to show up in close proximity to another d-word, so that Al Qaida’s “eventual strategic defeat” (when in doubt, they throw in the word strategic) requires “the sustained denial of the group’s safe haven”. See what they did there? Strategic defeat / sustained denial. And AQ’s capabilities have been “degraded” and its leadership “depleted.”

STRATEGERY: “In 2010, we also improved the United States-Pakistan relationship through the Strategic Dialogue.” Initial caps and everything, that must be quite a dialogue.

ER, CATERING, YEAH, CATERING’S GOING OKAY: “Specific components of our strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan are working well.”

AND IF THEY WOULD JUST SHUT UP AND DO WHAT WE TELL THEM... “In Pakistan, we are laying the foundation for a strategic partnership based on mutual respect and trust”. Actually there’s an awful lot about how Pakistan has to step up and secure parts of Pakistan the government’s never had much control over.

KOMICAL K SOUNDS: “It clearly communicates U.S. commitment to a long-term relationship that is supportive of Pakistan’s interests, and underscores that we will not disengage from the region as we have in the past.” Nice to see a repetition of the Republican talking point that the US “walked away” from Afghanistan after the Soviets were driven out, selfishly setting down the White Man’s Burden instead of, I guess, handing it over to Haliburton to run.

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