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December 15, 2009

What The Hell Is Joe Biden Talking About On Afghanistan?

As if the Obama administration's Afghan policy wasn't already clear as mud, Sheriff Joe decided to wade into the debate today and add a few more pounds of muck to the mix.

"You're going to see that [troop numbers] chart coming down as rapidly over the next two years," Biden said after looking at a chart showing troop numbers surging from 33,000 at the beginning of 2009 to 98,000 in the summer of 2010. "This is not a Coin [counterinsurgency] strategy," Biden said. "We just want to make sure that the Taliban is diminished enough so that the Afghan government can contain it."

Perhaps most troubling, Biden said: "the president has made something exquisitely clear to each of the generals: He said do not occupy any portion of that country that you are not confident within 18 months you're going to be able to turn over to the Afghans. Do not occupy what you cannot turn over."

It's not a counterinsurgency strategy? Did anyone tell that to Obama, McChrystal or Gates?

I'm not sure if this is Slow Joe being Slow Joe (he was supposedly an advocate for a counter-terrorism based approach) or he accidentally let the truth out but there's already been too much confusion over the meaning of the December 2010 review, the July 2011 pull out and whether or not it's all conditions based, we really don't need any more 'nuance' added to the program.

Related Enough: The Weekly Standard takes a look at Joe Biden's, um, intellect and finds him wanting.

A little philosophy? Who better to cite at a summit on urban policy in Chicago than Aristotle, who, "over two millennia ago .  .  . recognized the defining advantage of cities. He wrote, and I quote, 'Men come together in cities in order to live; they remain together in order to live the good life.' That is as true today as it was then." Never mind that Aristotle's point in the Politics was basically the opposite--that men move beyond their local "villages" to form broader political associations, translated as "city" but also "society," with roughly the connotation of today's "nation." Oh well--it sounded nice.

Biden also dabbles in theology. In May, he quoted a line from G.K. Chesterton ("It's not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting; it's been found difficult and left untried") that must have struck its audience--the American Israel Public Affairs Committee--as an odd an-alogy. (Biden was likening Christianity to the Middle East peace process.)

Thanks to Edward via Ace (the real one) for the latter Standard link.

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posted by Ace at 04:18 PM

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