Please, someone remove me from this Absurdist Art Project.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney went on at length Monday about how our goal in Afghanistan was to defeat al Qaeda.
Except, except, THERE ARE NO AL QAEDA FIGHTERS IN AFGHANISTAN.
None to speak of anyway.
This strategy would come as above-the-fold news to our soldiers, who think they are fighting the Taliban. But the Taliban are apparently not the enemy. Carney said nothing about fighting them.
A few excerpts:
What the President did when he reviewed U.S. policy in Afghanistan was insist that we focus our attention on what our absolute goals in the country should be, and prioritize them. And he made clear that the number-one priority, the reason why U.S. troops are in Afghanistan in the first place, is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda.
We can’t forget what the mission is, though, and the fact that the need to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda remains.
We will be unrelenting in our pursuit of al Qaeda and unrelenting in our efforts to remove leaders of al Qaeda from the battlefield.
Then Jake Tapper, who asks some good questions, asked some good questions.
Q When I interviewed then-CIA director Leon Panetta a couple years ago, he said there were fewer than 100 CIA — I mean, I’m sorry — he said there were fewer than 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. How many do we think are there now? About the same amount?
MR. CARNEY: I don’t have a specific number for you.
Q When is the last time U.S. troops in Afghanistan killed anybody associated with al Qaeda?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I would refer you to ISAF and the Defense Department for that. I don’t have that information.
This is certainly groundbreaking. We are actually fighting someone to defeat someone else. And the goal isn’t even to defeat the people we are fighting. And the people we really want to defeat aren’t even fighting.
This has to be demoralizing for U.S. troops who are being shot at by the people who are not our enemies. Maybe, they must think to themselves, we can shoot at the Taliban, and if we miss, we’ll hit an al Qaeda operative hiding in Pakistan.
The White House used to at least talk about “breaking the Taliban’s momentum,” an idea that was officially declared by the International Bureau of Silly Notions to be the oddest war fighting goal in history. Such nonsense was the result of Obama’s decision not to provide his generals with enough troops to win the war.
But now we’re not even trying to do break anyone’s momentum.
Hoping to compound the sense of absurdity, Obama is no longer willing to provide the funding the Kabul government will need to ward off the barbarians. From the Wall Street Journal:
An American proposal to cut the size of Afghan security forces by more than one-third after 2014 could lead to a catastrophe, Afghanistan’s defense minister told The Wall Street Journal, underlining his government’s growing fears of being abandoned after most foreign troops withdraw.
The minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, expressed his concerns after the U.S., which along with its allies funds Afghanistan’s military and police forces, circulated a new proposal to cut troops to 230,000 after 2014, from 352,000 this year.
So we’re proposing to slash Afghan forces that we worked for years to establish because, as the article eventually makes clear, we and the Europeans don’t want to pay for it.
Exactly what we did after leaving Vietnam.
I guess we should have enough money left over to build another wall on the National Mall in Washington to honor wasted lives.