Afghan War Just Needs a Better Sales Pitch

The big New York Times story on the Afghan War today (3/27/12) focuses on public opinion in the United States, which is now dramatically anti-war: 69 percent think we shouldn’t be there. An interesting point argument is raised later in the piece, when two sources make the argument that the war wouldn’t be so unpopular if Barack Obama would just do a better job of selling it: Peter Feaver of Duke University, who has long studied public opinion about war and worked in the administration of President George W. Bush, said that in his view there would be more support […]


USAT Debates Afghan Withdrawal, Minus the Debate

USA Today has a piece today headlined “Drawdown’s effects debated”– meaning the timetable for troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. The article starts with critical comments from U.S. military officials David Petraeus and Mike Mullen, who say they think the troop withdrawals are too much, too soon. And on the other side of this debate? USA Today explains: “Critics however say the drawdown risks reversing hard-won gains against the Taliban.” In other words, critics who question the wisdom of the troop withdrawal. The piece quotes a litany of such pro-war voices: Seth Jones of the Rand Corporation, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Danielle Pletka […]


USAT: Anti-war movement applauds Obama speech?

An analysis in USA Today (6/23/11) by Richard Wolf claims: President Obama’s decision to remove 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year and a total of 33,000 by next September was deemed a step in the right direction Wednesday by a growing, and bipartisan, anti-war movement. Really? I’m not aware of many people in the “anti-war movement” who have expressed that sentiment. And neither is USA Today, judging by the quotes that are included in the article. The piece notes that “Many Democrats called for a faster drawdown” and “Many liberal Democrats demanded more troops home sooner”– naming Sen. Carl Levin, […]


WaPo Defines Obama’s Afghan War Mission

The headline in today‘s Post, previewing Obama’s speech tonight: Obama’s Challenge: Leaving, but Not Too Quickly Funny how it’s not the other way around–leaving too slowly would seem to be a larger political problem, given the state of public opinion. The Post reports: President Obama will face a stiff political challenge Wednesday in presenting his plan for a gradual end to the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. His prime-time address must remind a skeptical electorate and a concerned Congress that the country’s longest war remains worth fighting–and funding–for several more years. Why is it that Obama must “remind” the public […]


About That Holbrooke Quote….

Yesterday the Washington Post reported–and the Drudge Report heavily promoted–the idea that Richard Holbrooke’s final words were, “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” Well, maybe not–at least according to Obama officials who have challenged that account. The Washington Post serves up a follow-up today,under the headline “Holbrooke’s War Remark Called Banter, Not Entreaty,” which apparently offers “a fuller account of the tone and contents of his remarks.” The upshot of the piece is that this was a joke–one that some readers apparently took seriously: Holbrooke’s statement was seized upon quickly by critics of the Afghan war debate, some […]