Ike Skelton Pushes For More War in Afghan
Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Open Left, MyDD, Docudharma, and FDL.
In today’s WaPo, Ike Skelton, Chair of the House Armed Forces Committee, teamed up with everyone’s favorite former Democrat, Joe Lieberman, on an op-ed for more war in Afghanistan called Don’t Settle for Stalemate in Afghanistan.
The president was right to call the war in Afghanistan “a war of necessity.” Now it is time to treat it as such and commit the decisive force that will allow Gen. McChrystal to break the Taliban’s momentum as quickly as possible.
Here at home, we must stabilize public support by convincing an increasingly skeptical American people that the Afghan war is in fact winnable.
Joe Lieberman joined up with his good pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham recently in the Wall Street Journal to the same tune.
And, Ike wholeheartedly agrees with Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, and William Kristol on ramping it up in Afghan.
It’s hard to picture Ike pushing back against more war in Afghanistan – ever! – with his connections and the defense industry which he represents.
What would he tell all the defense lobbyists when they stormed into his office and demanded an explanation? “Who do you think owns this place, Ike? You better straighten up and fly right, or you’re gonna regret it, Big Guy!”
Nope, it’s easier for Ike to just burn up more troops, than to even QUESTION the premises for the bizarre experiment in Afghanistan.
UPDATE: A few selected readings that should inform Ike Skelton’s Afghan posture and help him to start asking some intelligent questions, if he finds a reason to do so:
Second update: Here are some good questions for Ike Skelton to start asking about Afghanistan:
What are the prospects for military success in Afghanistan against al-Qaida and the Taliban?
What will the requirements be in the next year as to additional U.S. troops and the cost of our involvement in Afghanistan?
What may we reasonably expect NATO or other allies to contribute in troops and dollars to our efforts in Afghanistan?
What other areas around the world are open to al-Qaida as potential bases for another attack on the United States?
What will be done besides military action, such as nation building and stabilizing and developing Afghanistan, so that they will be prepared to handle their own problems so we can withdraw?
What assistance can we reasonably expect from Pakistan in fighting al-Qaida and the Taliban and stopping both from seeking refuge by moving in and out of Pakistan?
How does the questionable legitimacy of President Karzai’s status as result of allegations of proof of election fraud impact on our ability to succeed in Afghanistan?
How does the illegal drug trafficking and alleged involvement of high-ranking officials in the Karzai government in such drug trafficking impact on our efforts in Afghanistan?
What does U.S. intelligence show as to any possible plans by al-Qaida to attack the United States or anyone else?
And, some questions about the roles of India and Pakistan in the region:
What does U.S. intelligence show as to whether India poses a real threat to attack Pakistan?
What does U.S. intelligence show as to whether Pakistan poses a real threat to attack India?
What does U.S. intelligence show as to whether Pakistan could reasonably devote additional military force to assist us in the fight against the Taliban?
What does U.S. intelligence show as to whether the Government of Pakistan or influential officials in the Pakistani Government would consider negotiating with India for reducing nuclear weapons or other confidence-building measures to diffuse the tension with India if actively encouraged to do so by the United States?
What does U.S. intelligence show as to whether the Government of India or some influential officials in the Indian Government would consider negotiating with Pakistan for reducing nuclear weapons or other confidence-building measures to diffuse the tension with Pakistan if actively encouraged by the United States to do so?
And from whom did these questions originate? Arlen Specter.
While I think it is laudable to want to protect the Afghan people and to provide good governance there, it is my view that is not of sufficient national interest for the United States to put our troops at risk or to expend substantial additional sums there. The principal question, as I see it, is whether Afghanistan is indispensable to be secured to prevent al-Qaida from launching another attack against the United States. If that is the purpose, that is the necessity, then we must undertake anything, whatever it costs, to stop al-Qaida from again attacking the United States.
But I believe there is a series of questions which have to be answered before we can assess whether that is an indispensable part of U.S. policy. Toward that end, I have written to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on a series of questions which I think requires answers before we can make an informed judgment as to whether the expenditures in Afghanistan are in our specific and key national interests. [emphasis added]
And damned good questions they are. I’d like to get some answers.
I know, I know, lots of Dems don’t like Specter. But he’s asking the right questions, no? And how come “real” Dems like – ahem – Ike Skelton aren’t asking them? eh?