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October 8, 2009

Mind Games

Newsweek's Taliban Cover (though Team Obama concluding Taliban no longer a threat

From yesterday’s NYT:

President Obama’s national security team is moving to reframe its war strategy by emphasizing the campaign against Al Qaeda in Pakistan while arguing that the Taliban in Afghanistan do not pose a direct threat to the United States, officials said Wednesday.

…Mr. Obama’s commander there, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, has argued that success demands a substantial expansion of the American presence, up to 40,000 more troops. Any decision that provides less will expose the president to criticism, especially from Republicans, that his policy is a prescription for failure.

The White House appears to be trying to prepare the ground to counter that by focusing attention on recent successes against Qaeda cells in Pakistan. The approach described by administration officials on Wednesday amounted to an alternative to the analysis presented by General McChrystal. If, as the White House has asserted in recent weeks, it has improved the ability of the United States to reduce the threat from Al Qaeda, then the war in Afghanistan is less central to American security.

Regarding the Newsweek cover from week-before-last:

1. Whoops!

2. Nothing sells like a good boogeyman.

3. 9/11! Axis of evil!

4. Silence of the (Is-)Lambs.

5. Seems there’s a straw man wherever you turn these days.

6. No surge? Look for the same expression on the face of defense CEO’s in 2012.

(image: still looking)

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