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Condi Rice and Robert Gates contradict each other on Afghanistan

by The3rdColumn Thu Feb 7th, 2008 at 08:49:15 PM EST

I don't get it... Some three weeks ago, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates faced the world media and accused Britain and US NATO allies of inexperience in fighting the Taleban that made me go almost ballistic.

These last 24 hours print and broadcast media have bannered stories about US State Secretary Condi Rice meeting with PM Gordon Brown and UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband demanding NATO allies in Europe for more troops on the Afghan front lines, warning that unless more troops were deployed in the South, Afghanistan would risk becoming a 'failed state.'

New York Times reports: Condoleezza Rice Visits Afghanistan

With criticism of the war in Afghanistan increasing on both sides of the Atlantic, Secretary of State said Wednesday that European governments needed to convince their people that sending troops to Afghanistan -- and keeping them there -- should remain a priority for NATO.

The Condi Rice initiative prompted NATO to make a rebuttal dismissing the Afghanistan crisis.

And while the US foreign affairs circus is going on in Khabul, we now hear from US blogger The Vigil a report that Mr Robert Gates testified yesterday before a congressional hearing that all was well in Afghanistan and that the Talebans had been routed, "thrown out", booted out, etc.!

General Petreaus has left me confused about Iraq, and now Secretary Gates has me stumped about Afghanistan...

In a congressional hearing yesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates implied that the U.S. military had routed the Taliban from Afghanistan. Gates blathered out a rosy assessment that the Taliban has "lost" in Afghanistan and that they had been "thrown out" of the country...


I may be in need of some assistance here, in squaring what Gates's testimony with what I read in the world press and media ...

The Vigil also posted a video link of Mr Gates' testimony at the hearing in which you could hear Gates declaring the following verbatim:

"The Taliban no longer occupy any territory in Afghanistan. They were thrown out of Musa Qala a few weeks ago before over Christmas. And the Taliban have had some real setbacks. Probably 50 of their leaders have been killed or captured over the past year, and we know that that's had an impact on their capability and also on their morale."

Is that so? Then WTF got into this ex American spook 3 weeks ago when he accused America's NATO allies virtually of incompetence in routing out the Talebans?

Watch the video link in Think Progress and see, er, hear for yourself!

WTF is going on?

Has Secretary Gates covered himself in guano again? Are we sure that POTUS knows what's going on under his very nose? We have two top US guns all over the place giving contradictory assessment of the Afghanistan situtation, i.e., Rice saying to Europeans, "We need more troops in Afghanistan to fight the Talebans or we will have a failed state" and Gates in Washington bombastically declaring before US Congress that "The Taliban no longer occupy any territory in Afghanistan."

Have these two top US guns become confused or debilitated like POTUS that they probably think that Afghanistan is in Iraq or vice-versa? Has ineptitude become the order of the day in the Pentagon and in the US State Department?

You're absolutely right, but tracking down self-contradictions among Bush officials is like shooting fish in a barrel.

"Dodo" means "doodoo" in Hungarian.
by Bogach Krasavitz (bogachkrasavitz@mail.ru) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 01:17:08 AM EST
If Afghanistan goes south they can point to Gates warning and place the blame on the Europeans.
If not no one will remember.
Today everybody knows that Saddam is to blame for the invasion because he just wouldn't say that he had no WMDs.
by generic on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 09:36:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like when you have a US broadsheet like TWSJ trying hard to bury the Iraq issue...

Blocking Blair -THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE and write:

It's a curious time to renew the Iraq debate, just as the U.S. surge has put al Qaeda on the defensive and allowed for slow but sure political progress in Baghdad. Events on the ground make the antiwar crowd's narrative of a "disastrous" invasion less plausible almost daily. So it's compensating by repeating its claims of catastrophe until the public believes they're true.
by The3rdColumn on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 10:45:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If only they could shoot each other the world will be well rid of this "fish barrel"
by The3rdColumn on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 10:40:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very big barrel.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 01:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like ghosts in a barrel. You can't miss, but they really don't seem to care.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 02:13:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gates at the budget hearing, declaring that the Taleban have been thrown out of Aghanistan.

Video link: Think Progress

by The3rdColumn on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 11:03:57 AM EST
This should be a better watch!

Transatlantic film forum: The Boys from Baghdad High

13 February 2008

Film Showing at 1800-1930

Discussion 1930-2000

Royal United Services Institute, Whitehall, London

It's back to school time. A group of Iraqi boys are returning to their classroom for their last year in high school in the world's most dangerous city - Baghdad. The four friends are Christian, Kurdish, Shia and Sunni. Will their friendship survive the sectarian violence ripping their city apart? Will they see their 18th birthdays or even graduate? The boys have the cameras. "The Boys From Baghdad High" is their story.

Laura Winter, the documentary's producer-director, will lead a discussion after the screening about the challenges in presenting this human dimension to conflict in Iraq. Often the defence analyst, interested parliamentarian, and student of international relations all too easily get caught up in strategy, tactics, the global and regional implications of the conflict. Although this film does not take a position on the war - it simply shows the war through the eyes of the innocent.

The Transatlantic Security Programme is pleased to invite you to a special viewing of the new documentary "The Boys from Baghdad High" which recently aired on the BBC.*

This event is free for members of the Institute, to become a member please click here. Non members can attend but there will be a 5 charge.

To register for this event please contact Jennifer Walker, Event Manager at jenniferw@rusi.org

Reviews for The Boys From Baghdad High:

Variety wrote, 'this is history writ on a small personal scale, away from the frontlines, but in its own small way, it says more about the tragedy of Iraq than pumped-up fakumentaries like Brian De Palma's "Redacted."

The Times reviewer called "The Boys From Baghdad High," "Terrific."

In the Scotsman the reviewer wrote, "I won't get this terrific film out of my head for a good while."

The reviewer at the Radio Times wrote, "We could do with more films like this."

The British Press Association called it, "the most memorable film of recent times."

Laura Winter

Laura has worked as a freelance producer for CNN, for CBS 60 Minutes and CBS Evening News in the U.S., Iraq and Afghanistan. In Kabul she was the radio correspondent for CBS News. Laura has filed stories and shot photos in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Daily News and other newspapers and magazines. In Iraq Laura covered the fall of Baghdad, the rise of the insurgency in the capital and Faluja, the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Tikrit, and mass graves in al Hilla and abu Ghraib. In Afghanistan she reported on the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora, the revival of the Taliban and the country's first presidential and parliamentary elections. Laura has also worked as a newspaper reporter in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Hong Kong.

*"The Boys From Baghdad High" first aired on the BBC 8th January 2008. The documentary will air on HBO this Spring and on ARTE next month.


by The3rdColumn on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 12:14:25 PM EST

Europe.  Feel free to arrest these people on site.  Come on, some secret intelligence agency somewhere has got to have some semblance of "intelligence".

They demolished the world trade center towers, covered up the evidence and then attacked two countries on a whim.  Afghanistan because they wanted the drug trade back and Iraq for the oil.

by Lasthorseman on Fri Feb 8th, 2008 at 05:15:57 PM EST

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