Summer Tryouts for Afghan Army, Decision on Withdrawal Details in November, Top Commander Tells Congress

ufnSgt. Jesse Stence/U.S. MarinesPresident Obama has been “ending the war” in Afghanistan, in its twelfth year, for the last four years. A proposed timeline for a 2014 withdrawal for NATO came with a “long-term” ten year deal between the U.S. and Afghanistan which could see something like 10,000 U.S. troops remaining in the country after the “end of combat operations.” In a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama described America’s post-withdrawal role as a “limited mission” to train Afghan forces and hunt down Al-Qaeda (another open-ended mission). The president and his administration faces political paralysis vis a vis Afghanistan, as a result of both an absence of leadership and bureaucratic infighting, and with the start of 2014 less than eight months away, few details are available on how withdrawal might look (other than to say it depends on the progress of the Afghan army, a bleak proposition).

NATO’s top man in Afghanistan, Marine General  Joseph Dunford, warns of “growing uncertainty” in the country absent a “dynamic and compelling commitment” from the United States. Dunford avoided providing details on withdrawal to Congress in his first testimony since becoming the man in charge in Afghanistan. U.S. troops should stay in Afghanistan past the 2014 withdrawal date, the general said, but what the withdrawal actually means (how many troops are coming home?) should depend on how the Afghan army does in the summer fighting season, with a decision to follow in November. There’s little reason to be optimistic the Afghan government can meet any kind of benchmark the U.S. sets as a condition for withdrawal; opium production in Afghanistan is set to hit a record high this year,  the cost of corruption is pegged at nearly $4 billion, and the Afghan army itself loses nearly a third of its force each year to attrition and desertion. At this rate, there'll always be a reason for the U.S. to stick around in Afghanistan.

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  • DRM||

    "Ending the war"?

    More than three times as many US soldiers were killed by hostile action in Afghanistan under Obama than under Bush.

    Hell, more US soldiers were killed by hostile action in Afghanistan just since Bin Laden was killed than during Bush's entire administration.

  • Sevo||

    DRM, you simply don't understand.
    The man has the Nobel PEACE PRIZE for pete's sake! He must be for PEACE! The prize committee said so!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Oh, I'm sure you just slept through all the GRIM MILESTONE reports and articles in the MSM. Yes, that must be it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Krauts would shit a brick if we pulled our troops out of the German economy. Isn't it reasonable to figure the Afghans will love having an American base and its personnel and their money around permanently? IT'S JUST COMMON SENSE.

  • Sevo||

    Fist of Etiquette| 4.16.13 @ 9:16PM |#
    "The Krauts would shit a brick if we pulled our troops out of the German economy"

    Which means the Greeks would also; all the more reason to close those bases, turn 'em over the the Kraut greenies, thumb US nose and go home.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I could see turning Hohenfels into a park. Kaiserslautern Industrial Complex could be turned over, in toto, to the Germans for an amusement park or such.

  • Almanian!||

    Doin' a heckuva job, Barack!

    Mission Accomplished!™

  • Ken Shultz||

    We might not be out of Afghanistan until sometime after it's safe to get out of Germany.

  • John||

  • Calidissident||

    And this happened in Texas?

  • John||

    Yes. Near Fort Hood. I can tell you from having living there, the cops around there are baboons of the worst sort. Just fucking fat assholes with total contempt for soldiers even though they would still be living in trees out there if it wasn't for Fort Hood.

  • John||

    Look at that guy. What a fat ugly creature he is.

  • Wind Rider||

    Check the 'rest of the story' on this clown Grisham. This was set up for his own personal attention needs, specifically to 'fit the narrative' so that it would be publicized.

    This guy is a flake. If you're familiar with the work of Michael Yon (former SF that has become the longest imbedded journo in US history - many have called him the modern Ernie Pyle), go take a look at some of the things Yon has had to say about this nut job.

    As bad as he wants to be a poster boy for something, just for the attention, CJ Grisham is NOT that person. He's nuts.

  • Wind Rider||

    And hmmm. . .seems like that NRO piece is "offline". . .

  • John||

    The video seems to speak for itself. The cop is a total fucking asshole. He had no right to take the weapon. Yeah, Grisham might be nuts. who knows. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't believe my own eyes watching the video.

  • Irish||

    The NRO piece isn't offline for me.

    And I looked up Grisham, and it appears that Yon has a major screw loose too. I'm not sure Yon is the most trustworthy guy in the world, based on what I'm reading.

  • John||

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....cj-grisham

    Works for me.

    http://www.opposingviews.com/i.....ying-ar-15

    Try that. the video is all over the internet.

  • Irish||

    If you want more evidence that Yon has a weird obsession with Grisham.

    Grisham is apparently raising a legal defense fund based on that video. Grisham's wife hijacked Grisham's facebook one night and made a joke about how Grisham was going to let her go on a shopping spree the next day for their daughter's prom. They actually joke about the fact that she'd hacked him later on in the facebook thread.

    Yon apparently found out about this post, and started claiming Grisham was running a scam with the legal defense money and that his wife was going on a 'shopping spree' funded by the legal fund. He said all this without evidence. They apparently don't even have access to the legal fund yet, so it would be impossible for them to have ripped off the fund, regardless.

    Basically, Yon has someone screencapping Grisham's facebook page and sending the screencaps to Yon. Yon then takes them out of context and makes baseless claims completely without evidence that Grisham is committing fraud. Again, I have a hard time trusting Yon on this issue, since he seems marginally unhinged.

    Yon also claimed Grisham was sent home from the army for 'mental health' issues, even though he was actually sent home because he had skin cancer. I don't know who to believe, but Yon does not seem to be the trustworthy journalist Wind Rider claims.

  • GILMORE||

    i for one - having read Yon for years - trust his reportage more than almost anyone. that said, he's had a bitchfest with this guy for a while. its probably not worth debating. wouldnt be surprised if grisham is exactly as nuts as yon claims, or if they're just internet enemies having a bitchslap-fest. either way, there should be some skepticism on hand regardless. in any case = i vote yon. he's a mensch. just my gut. he is someone who has shown true character in many cases. he just smells right. other dude, not so much.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Yon lost a lot of supporters when he had a bizzare tiff with Soldier's Angels in Germany. I don't think he is right upstairs.

    But, point being, who cares - the tape shows a stereotypical, know-nothing cop on an ego trip.

  • Wind Rider||

    I guess it's the eye of the beholder - I see a video with two dimwits - the cop isn't a rocket surgeon, yes, the epitome of the fat fuck sterotype that is a favorite ghobby horse around here - AND - (not but) Grisham seems to be doing just about everything possible to push the buttons necessary to escalate the situation.

    Note on the Yon/Soldiers Angels thing - Yon drew fire for raising the flag that something wasn't kosher, and it seems he was on to something - while Soldier's Angels started out with the greatest of intent (I actually have personally met one of the founders), once the money started rolling in, the organization was abused by embezlement - and people knee jerked when Yon pointed that out.

  • GILMORE||

    regarding "right upstairs"...

    http://www.michaelyon-online.c.....alysis.htm

    not available now.

    but if you had to pick someone to roll with...? I prefer obsessive, short, wordy green berets to fobbits on the verge of nervous breakdown.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Eh... Go take a look at some of the things written about Yon at blackfive.net.

  • GILMORE||

    thats what im talking about. they are his prime detractors. for the main reason i can tell is that he spotted them as being somewhat shady connected to shitty fundraising for wounded vets, which is endemic. they then chose to make him a regular target of criticism. If you've read 6+ years of his work, you get the sense that he never meant to pick a major fight with them, whereas they have a harder bone to pick with him. fact is = he's done 200X the on-the- ground work compared to them. Who to take as the more credible? I vote yon. He spends his time and energy working on advocacy, while the Blackfive crew seems to spend 90% of their energy shitting on others. in the end i think it may just be a lot of player hating gone wrong.

  • Wind Rider||

    As mentioned, I've met the Blackfive crowd. Blowhards sitting in comfort stateside lobbing spitballs at the man in the arena.

    As for track record - I have yet to see anyone catch Yon peddling bullshit - he's made incendiary charges, but I've yet to see him proved wrong about them.

    Spent 24 years in service (USAF) - and yeah, it was almost as cushy as all the jokes about it - dealt with a lot of pros,and a lot of wannabees. Grisham is a wannabee, with nothing but his attitude to get him by. If I personally was making up a crew to go fly with, Grisham would NOT be on it, but Mike Yon would be welcome any time.

  • Wind Rider||

    Yep, Yon and the Blackfive crowd have been at each other's digital throats for a few years - no love fest happening there. Yon took exception to some of the over the top puffery from ex-military pundits sitting stateside that cast aspersions on what Yon was actually seeing and reporting as an imbede, on the scene, and it pretty quickly escalated. The Blackfive crowd is butthurt cause Yon called them wannabes, and the Blackfive crowd responded by deciding they didn't like Mike Yon. And having met both Blackfive and his loud and obnoxious sidekick "Uncle Jimbo", plus having followed Yon's dispatches from almost the beginning - I go with Yon's version. It is actually coherent and makes sense.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Jesus Harold Christ, what a bunch of fucking thugs.

    They actually said that the law doesn't apply to them. Fucking burn in hell assholes.

  • DRM||

    Hallowed. Jesus Hallowed Christ.

    He inherited it from his father. You know, Mr. "Hallowed be thy name"?

  • Wind Rider||

    How long would it take to get out of Afghanistan? Realistically. we could be gone in three months from a re-deployment order being issued. In that amount of time, a selection could be made of equipment we're leaving (which would probably be a lot) and to make arrangements and transport that which we are taking. Load up, turn off the lights, say buh bye.

    The place was a mess when we got there, it hasn't been made any 'better', they still hate each other but hate us more, so what the fuck are we doing there? Civilizing the noble savages? Bitch, please.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Like our presence in Vietnam did to its neighbors, too, our presence in Afghanistan seems to be destabilizing Pakistan.

    I don' think Obama understands that, though. Certainly, if he doesn't understand that what he does with the Drug War makes things worse from a violence standpoint--why would he understand if what he's doing in Afghanistan is making things worse?

  • Calidissident||

    Or if he doesn't understand how his economic policies are making everything worse. We could go on all day

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, with the Drug War, it seems like the exact. same. thing.

    The militarization of our police forces and their fight against drug dealing gangs--hasn't brought about ANY of the Drug War's objectives effectively. It's destabilized the government and society of our neighbors...

    He's using the same strategy in Afghanistan--and getting the same results. It isn't achieving the War's objectives (now that OBL's dead) and it's bringing violence throughout Afghanistan, and it's destabilizing Afghanistan's neighbor...

    It's just that instead of trying to wipe out drug sales (like in the Drug War), Obama's trying to wipe out...anti-American extremism with military tactics.

    If he won't give up that horribly destructive and losing strategy here on the streets of our cities in America, why would see the light in Afghanistan?

    This is not a president who cannot imagine that his own efforts could be anything but helpful. And if anybody says they're killing people by the thousands (many of them children), he just thinks people don't understand that his heart is in the right place.

    It'd be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic.

  • Ken Shultz||

    *Edits*

    ...why would [he] see the light in Afghanistan?

    This is not a president who cannot imagine that his own efforts could be anything but helpful.

    You knew what I meant!

  • Hyperion||

    His job is not to understand anything. His job is to steal as much money from taxpayers in 8 years as possible, to enrich and empower himself, his friends, and his crony donors.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Honestly, I think he's simply incompetent.

    He always feeds his base of unions...to the point that he's their crony rather than them being his, but I think, even then, he genuinely believes his own bullshit.

    He thinks what he's doing is the right thing to do.

    ...which is far more frightening. A pragmatist we could trust to do what was in his own best interest--with Obama, he doesn't know what's in his own best interest half the time. How could he possible recognize what was in the country's best interest?

    He's incompetent. Both he and Bush's primary faults had to do with utter incompetence. Left to their own devices, neither one of them could have run a fast food restaurant successfully.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    His job is to steal as much money from taxpayers in 8 years as possible, to enrich and empower himself, his friends, and his crony donors.

    Yep

    Obama is just a scamster, all his ideological affects are just a cover for theft.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I really don't see how the American presence in Afghanistan is destabilizing Pakistan. I'm not even sure that would be a bad thing. Fuck Pakistan.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just like if some foreign government were colluding with the American government to wage war against some American citizens here in the United States, I wouldn't care what that foreign government's true intentions were. I'd want to fight that foreign government--and I might come to hate our own government, too, for collaborating with them against Americans.

    We've been collaborating with the Pakistani government to kill Pakistanis, and if there are elements within Pakistan's security forces that are not so secretly fighting against us and working against their own government for collaborating with us, then that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

    If you stayed up all night trying to think of a better way to radicalize Pakistanis to join with the fundamentalists against the government, you'd have a hard time coming up with something better than what we've already been doing.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Like I said, it's very much like what our involvement in Vietnam did to the governments of Cambodia and Laos.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V.....a_and_Laos

    It's very much like what the Drug War is doing to Mexico. When we entice a foreign government to collaborate with us in fighting against its own people, there are consequences. Sometimes, maybe it's worth it--if we're doing something that adds to the security of the United States. But what we're doing in Mexico is doing the opposite of adding to our security. What we're doing in Afghanistan, at this point, is probably to the detriment of our security, too.

    Destabilizing Cambodia and Laos was bad enough. ...but Pakistan has nukes.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It's always America's fault with some people.

  • ||

    I'm confused, I thought TX was not an open-carry state, even by those who have a CCW.

  • ||

    You can't open carry handguns. Rifles are fine unless it is a prohibited place like a school.

  • Irish||

    Open carry of handguns is illegal, open carry of long guns is not. You can open carry a rifle.

  • ||

    Gotcha. Opencarry.org does not make this clear.

  • Hyperion||

    But that one was scary, and black. Maybe that was the problem? Maybe the officer wanted some recognition from Obama and Nanny Mike, for getting after those scary black guns.

  • Almanian!||

    Anyone else watching the Jeselnick Offensive?? So rude, so funny - he's the more suave, smoother, debonair Sam Kinison. My must-see TV each week.

  • John||

    I made the mistake of flipping by Louis C K on HBO the other day. My God that guy is an unfunny douche bag. The whole routine was just painful.

  • ||

    Really? I think Louis CK is hilarious. Love his TV show too. Pretty sure I pulled a muscle laughing during the episode where the kid shits in the bathtub.

  • Hyperion||

    There seems to be some kind of consensus over at the FluffPo now that it's time to declare martial law so that we can finally get the right wing extremists.

    Gawd, why can I not look away from that train wreck of human intelligence?

  • Hyperion||

    They are coming together like little whos in whoville, in the presence of our great leader. LMAO! Goddamn, you can't make shit up like this!

  • Irish||

    Links? I want to see this, but don't want to plumb the depths of HuffPo if I can't be guaranteed some true insanity.

  • Hyperion||

    Link won't work, Irish, you have to read a series of them to grasp the depths of the group think mentality.

    Yes, some of the comments are incredibly stupid by themselves, but when you read a few pages, you get the full effect of how the left thinks, and it will both amuse you and make you despise the fact that you live on the same planet with them.

  • Irish||

    Looking at Huffpo, I love that liberals are suddenly huge fans of the War on Terror when they can use it as a talking point to argue in favor of more government.

  • Hyperion||

    They also now support torture, and everything that they accused Boosh of doing, although they still hate him. But they want their guy to do the exact same things, and worse.

  • Irish||

    compintheusa
    57 Fans
    2 hours ago (11:15 PM)
    Put down the hateraid. The NRA is not a domestic terror organization by any stretch of the imagination, even a warped liberal one.

    Permalink | Share it
    kobomac
    88 Fans
    55 minutes ago (11:53 PM)
    The idea of terrorism is to make people live in fear. That is precisely what the NRA does.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Opium production in Afghanistan is set to hit a record high this year, the cost of corruption is pegged at nearly $4 billion, and the Afghan army itself loses nearly a third of its force each year to attrition and desertion.

    Can anyone kindly explain how any of this is the concern of the United States government?

  • Hyperion||

    Because we can't stay the fuck out of anyones elses business, all around the world, and drugs are bad, Mmkay?

    No matter how much death, destruction, and misery we cause, it's ok, because it's for the children, even when it kills them.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We aren't causing the death destruction and/or misery over there. It is entirely a result of their own backwardness and cultural inferiority.

    Opium production in Afghanistan is set to hit a record high this year, the cost of corruption is pegged at nearly $4 billion, and the Afghan army itself loses nearly a third of its force each year to attrition and desertion.

    Can anyone kindly explain how any of this is the concern of the United States government?

    None of that is, but the possibility of AQ/assorted bad guys using Afghanistan as a basepad for bad things is. The current strategy seems an extremely inefficient way of preventing that. I'm more a fan of live and let murderdrone.

  • Calidissident||

    "We aren't causing the death destruction and/or misery over there."

    This is correct. "We" aren't doing anything over there.

  • Tman||

    HEY REASON..I'm a bit.....what's the word . . . loaded, yes, that's the word.

    DO A FUCKING INTERVIEW WITH BRUCE SCHNEIER ALREADY BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT.

    Terrorists Don't Do Movie Plots

  • WomSom||

    Every now and then you just have to throw your hands up in the air, like you jsut dont care.

    www.AnonHit.tk

  • GILMORE||

    ...And everybody say, "OH YEAH-AHH"!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rwpBYQn3S8

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