Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Pakistan colleagues his nation was committed to a policy which respects the territorial integrity of Pakistan even as President Zardari and military leaders made it plain to the visiting American their intention to fight against any further US military attacks on their soil. It was made clear to Mullen that Islamabad would not compromise on the issue of national sovereignty and wanted an end to American ground and missile attacks. The US embassy issued a statement that said: “Admiral Mullen reiterated US commitment to respect Pakistani’s sovereignty and to develop further US-Pakistan cooperation and co-ordination on these critical issues that challenge the security and well-being of the people of both countries.” Sources indicate there was a blunt exchange between Mullen and Pakistani military leaders.
Within a few hours after the American embassy statement was released there was a new report of a US missile attack in South Waziristan which resulted in the death of about six people. American sources claim the attack with co-ordinated with Pakistan military officials.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen told Congress the pieces are all in place to gain victory in Iraq, but the prospect for Afghanistan is somewhat different. Admiral Mullen put it this way, “I am not convinced we’re winning in Afghanistan. I am convinced we can.” Gates assured Congress, “no matter what you think about the origins of the war in Iraq, we must get the end game there right. I believe we have now entered that end games.” Both men emphasized “we did not compromise one war for the other.” Their comments raise more questions than provide answers. How can Gates and Mullen ignore the reality that the war in Afghanistan in 2001 had the Taliban on the run and completely disorganized, but troops were withdrawn from that conflict to deal with the new war in Iraq. Of course, one war WAS compromised for the other!
Mullen admits the United States is not winning in Afghanistan, but offers no rationale as to why we should be able to gain victory. Of course, a fundamental problem is the use of the word “victory” in either place. What exactly constitutes “victory?” There were no militants in Iraq in 2003 and now there are thousands. There was no al-Qaeda presence in Algeria in 2003, but now, due to the war in Iraq, there is a new North Africa al-Qaeda.
Afghanistan is not Iraq, it is mountainous, a large narcotics trade which funds insurgents, political instability in neighboring Pakistan, and a serious division within the nation arising not merely from the Taliban, but from tribal chieftains and cliques. What would “victory” look like in Afghanistan?
Posted in 2008 Elections, Asia, Conservatives, Democrats, Human Rights, Liberals, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, Gates, Iraq, Mullen
AdmiralMike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be in Pakistan in the coming days to bluntly express his frustration and to “read the riot act” to its government which has failed to do anything regarding curbing violence in tribal areas. Mullen, and the American government are disgusted, frustrated and angry with the apparent inability or unwillingness of the Islamabad government to take decisive action. Mullen believes they are flip flopping and using stall tactics to avoid action. In the meantime, raids continue hitting US and coalition forces from the save haven of Pakistan.
The Pakistan People’s Party under co-chair Asia Al Zardari has failed to decide on a course of action in tribal regions. They have shifted from negotiation to threats to action without any clear idea as to which represents a long term policy. Unless there are changes, American and US troops may resort to covert or overt action in tribal regions which will undoubtedly anger the Pakistan government.
As rumors continue circulating around Washington D.C. about a secret Dick Cheney plan to attack Iran, Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. officials should consider the damage that could result from initiating a new war in the Middle East. H also added that military options could not be taken off the table. He specifically noted it was ‘a last option.” Mullen believes the focus now should be on “bringing together the international community that is constructive, not destructive.” he also commented on a lesson he had learned from fighting in Iraq– there is need to have agencies like USAID receive funding that is larger.
The choice of words by Admiral Mullen is instructive. He uses expressions like “last option” and urges “bringing together the international community” in dealing with Iran. Ironically, the Bush administration is following the opposite path of ignoring the international community and considering air strikes as a first option. One can only hypothesize from his words there is not overwhelming support among American military leaders about attacking Iran. They understand such action would place unbearable strains on existing forces and raise renewed demands for a drafty system. Hopefully, unlike in Iraq when Bush and Rumsfeld ignored the advice of General Shinseki who wanted more troops in Iraq, this time Bush will listen carefully to the advice of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Posted in Conservatives, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Iran, Iraq War, Military, Republicans, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Cheney, Iran, Joint Chiefs, Mullen, Rumsfeld, Shinseki
Michael Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters the United States armed forces was prepared to handle any potential conflict with Iran because “there is more than enough reserves to respond(militarily) if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do.” Mullen also told the press he had not uncovered any evidence so far of Iranian military weapons being furnished to insurgent forces in Afghanistan although Bush officials continually claim that is happening. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who also appeared at the press conference, warned against the proposed Armenian genocide resolution in Congress and warned about a negative Turkish reaction. “I don’t think the Turks are bluffing.” He also expressed concerns over private contractors in Iraq and thought they were seriously damaging the interests of the United States.
Perhaps, Admiral Mullen knows about the presence of additional military forces, but, at present, the American military is stretched thin. The American people were told by prior Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the attack on Iraq could easily be handled by a small armed force. Now, Mullen and Gates are claiming we can handle Iran with existing forces. What if an air and naval assault then required land forces in Iran, how could we organize such an assault with existing numbers in our Army and Marine Corps? isn’t it about time the Bush administration spoke honestly to the American public by telling them an air attack on Iran would also require instituting a draft system?
Posted in George Bush, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged attack, Gates, Iran, Joint Chiefs, Mullen