Gary Corseri: I think the most difficult issues to discern the truth about are those that have to do with what is happening between the President of the US and our military leadership—or different factions within the US administration.
Gareth Porter: This week’s Taliban attacks on multiple targets in Kabul, including the U.S. Embassy and U.S.-NATO headquarters, are the latest and most spectacular of a long series of operations that have given the insurgents the upper hand in establishing the narrative of the war as perceived by the Afghan population.
Gareth Porter: The new Pakistani demand for equal say over drone strikes marks the culmination of a long evolution in the Pakistani military’s attitude toward the drone war. Initially supportive of strikes that were targeting Al-Qaeda leaders, senior Pakistani military leaders soon came to realize that the drone war carried serious risks for Pakistan’s war against the Pakistani Taliban.
John Peeler: Obama appears determined that the wars not overwhelm his domestic agenda, even as, pragmatically, he cannot walk away from either without exposing himself to withering political attacks. If Bush saw himself as a war president, Obama wants to be a reformer with two wars to manage.
But isn’t there hope for Iraq and Afghanistan because opposition forces are divided and often unpopular? Not really. The problem in Iraq is that as U.S. forces draw down, the now reduced guerrilla war could turn into a civil war among the Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurdish ethno-sectarian groups. In Afghanistan, Afghans regard the United States as a foreign occupier, are suspicious of the U.S. long-term military presence, do not support a surge in U.S. forces, do not think it will defeat the Taliban, and thus support negotiating with the insurgents.