Wednesday, January 26, 2011 6:16 AM
WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans stand behind President Barack Obama's strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), which will prevent the war from becoming a "domestic political football" like the war in Iraq.
And that's a good thing? I thought praetorian guards went out a long time ago. What's the point of free speech for a free people if the most urgent order of government business -- a bankrupting war and nation-building effort without point that is junking our military capabilities while killing and maiming Americans in uniform -- is seen by a leading elected official as a "domestic political football" to be sidelined and sat on?
"The good news about this war -- if there's any good news about any war -- is that hasn't become a domestic political football like the Iraq war," McConnell said during a breakfast discussion with Politico's Mike Allen on Tuesday.
So, praise Obama and pass the appropriations....
"What made the Iraq war so challenging here is that it became a 'shirts vs. skins' domestic political issue. In 2007, for example, I had 250 antiwar demonstrators in front of my house in Louisville, Ky. Now, Louisville is not San Francisco, this is sort of an unusual thing. We haven't seen any of that with the Afghan war."
McConnell added that "virtually" every GOP senator supports Obama's war policy, although he implied that there were a few dissenters.
Watch out, dissenters. But what exactly is Obama's war policy, Senator? To prevent Afghanistan from becoming a domestic political football?
"As the Republican leader of the Senate -- I think I can speak for virtually all of my members on this, but not all of them -- we support what the president's doing," McConnell said.
And that is ....
"So I think that even though we are a country that greatly values life and always hates it when we lose anyone, the post-9/11 mission of keeping Afghanistan from becoming a haven again is important. And I support it, and I think the president is doing the right thing."
Haven of what? Taliban? Sharia? Islam? OBL? Extremism? Al Qaeda, whatever that brand-name-jihad now means, appears to be hunkering down in Haven-stan, I mean, Pakistan, our fabulous ally (to whom no amount of money is enough to convince them to stop sponsoring the Taliban). Meanwhile, a spectrum of jihad groups exist across a range of states, from Somalia to Djibouti to Eritrea to Sudan to the Philippines to Uzbekistan. How about Hezbollah in Latin America, Senator? Or in Lebanon, or in Gaza? How about Iran? "Extremists" are even finding "haven" in ... Iraq. Haven hotbeds abound from Europe to Yourtown, USA, but stand strong, Senator. Don't let being eyeless in A-stan become a dread "political football,"
After all, you've been there.
The minority leader recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he traveled with Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). While there, they met with Gen. David Petraeus, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani military chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and U.S. troops.
In Afghanistan, McConnell said the Taliban had a "very bad year" in 2010, and was likely to face an even worse year in 2011. "We're making substantial headway," he said, compared to what he saw on his last trip there in January 2010.
Gee, Senator. How do you think 2012 might compare to 2009, assuming 2011 is worse than 2010?
"The best we can hope for in the near-term future in terms of getting them back to what is normal for them is getting them back to 30 years ago, before the Russians came in -- which was a relatively peaceful and to some extent self-sustaining agricultural society. That's about all we can hope for.
Question: Is this "all-we-can-hope-for" scenario worth $350 million a day, not to mention the ghastly, monting toll of lost limbs and other grievous injuries?
Guaranteed: That question is when a Senator punts.