Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Obama's War In Afghanistan and Former CIA Official (and Saban Center Senior Fellow) Bruce Riedel

Martin Indyk, an Australian national and naturalized US citizen was the former deputy director of research at the American Israel Public Affairs Policy Committee [AIPAC]…Indyk would later go on to found the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. The center was initially funded by a $13 million grant from Israeli dual citizen and television magnate Haim Saban, famously quoted by the New York Times as saying, `I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel.’…By targeting and taking over Middle East policy at Brookings in 2002, Saban and Indyk were able to `leapfrog’ AIPAC messaging…to first place…The takeover of Brookings Middle East policy by an AIPAC operative and Israeli-American businessman represents an evolution in AIPAC influence over think tanks…”

--from Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal by Grant F. Smith

Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He retired in 2006 after 30 years service at the Central Intelligence Agency including postings overseas in the Middle East and Europe. Riedel was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House….He was also deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Near East and South Asia at the Pentagon and a senior advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. In January 2009, President Barack Obama asked him to chair a review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan, the results of which the president announced in a speech on March 27, 2009….In December 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron asked him to advise the United Kingdom’s National Security Council on Pakistan…He is a graduate of Brown (BA), Harvard (MA) and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London.”

--from the Brookings Institution website

Media mogul Haim Saban has donated $1 million to super PACs supporting President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional candidates, according to a report filed late Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

“Saban donated the money on June 25th to Unity PAC, a fundraising committee created to raise cash for Priorities USA, (Senate) Majority PAC, House Majority PAC…”

--from the July 13, 2012 issue of Hollywood Reporter

Obama’s War In Afghanistan and Former CIA Official (and Saban Center Senior Fellow) Bruce Riedel

Most U.S. anti-war activists--as well as most people in the United States—have, for many years, wanted all U.S. military forces to be withdrawn from foreign countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet in 2009, President Obama ordered 40,000 additional U.S. troops to put their boots on the ground in Afghanistan and escalated U.S. aerial and drone attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. And in 2012 there are still 68,000 U.S. troops with their boots on the ground in Afghanistan and still frequent U.S. aerial and drone attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

One reason might be because in 2007 a 30-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency named Bruce Reidel--who’s currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy that AIPAC’s former deputy director of research founded--apparently began advising 2012 Democratic presidential candidate Obama to escalate U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan during his first term as U.S. president. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter recalled in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“On January 30 [2009], ten days after being sworn in, Obama called Bruce Riedel at home. Riedel, a former CIA official, had begun advising the Obama campaign in 2007. Now the president asked him to conduct a review of…U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan…
“…[Former Defense Secretary] Gates, [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton, and the rest of the national security team agreed that the 12,000 additional troops authorized by Bush in December wouldn’t be enough…in Afghanistan…So on February 17 [2009] after a pair of meetings in the Situation Room, Obama approved…17,000 more troops…Upon arriving at the NATO summit in Strasbourg on March 27 [2009], he added 4,000 more…The autumn of 2009 was when Afghanistan became Obama’s war…He decided to send 40,000 more troops, bringing the total commitment to around 100,000…

“…The war had to be paid for. In April [2009] Obama asked Congress for an $83 billion supplemental appropriation for Afghanistan and Pakistan…On May 4 [2009] a B-1 bomber drooped a two-thousand pound bomb on a building in the Afghan city of Farah, killing dozens of civilians…

“…Obama moved toward the heavier use of pilotless Predator drones in…Afghanistan, and increasingly across the unmarked border into Pakistan…The drones often killed bystanders…By mid-2009 the air force had fewer pilots flying airplanes than remotely controlling the drones from the ground…The Predators nailed several `high=value terorist targets’ in Obama’s first year…Liberals who assumed that in his heart Obama was for withdrawal were mistaken…He had promised repeatedly during the 2008 campaign that he would step up U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and now he was doing so…
“On August 17 [2009] Obama…addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars…Significantly he called Afghanistan `a war of necessity.’…`You know what?’ Obama said. `We gotta pay them [Afghan government soliders] more.’ He issued an immediate order for a pay increase, and in December [2009] the Afghan army had its highest recruitment success…Early on, the president eliminated withdrawal as an option…The United States, he concluded, simply couldn’t do without a substantial military presence in the region…

“On the day after the [October 1, 2009] London speech [General] McCrystal was summoned to Copenhagen to meet with Obama…Obama found that he liked McCrystal personally and thought he had the right approach for completing the mission…On October 29 [2009] Obama…saluted as the flag-draped coffins containing 18 servicemen killed in Afghanistan were removed from a cargo plane. They were among the 55 dead in Afghanistan in October [2009], the bloodiest month for Americans since the war began in 2001…The next day he asked the generals for a `surge’ similar to the one [General and CIA Director] Petraeus had executed in Iraq…It was time to see if it could be applied in Afghanistan…

“If Obama’s escalation ended in more failure, he couldn’t claim that he wasn’t warned…[In November 2009] the president gave preliminary approval to the plan…which called for 40,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan over 21 months…”


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