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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:41 AM
Original message
Kerry's second Afganistan hearing going on now
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 08:53 AM by karynnj
http://foreign.senate.gov/Flashtest.html

Kerry giving opening statements - summarizing yesterday's hearing. Speaking of the fact that there are no clear answers

Speaking of principles:

- problem with affect on Pakistan as well Afghanistan
- Problem of narcotics
- This is a CONSTRUCTION, not a re- construction project
- There may be a problem with government

Later, the video and statements are usually here - http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/2009/hrg090917a.html
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. thanks, karynnj
I've been watching for this to come on. :)
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. Lugar
Obama has re-organized Afghanistan effort, that Obama said was ignored because of Iraq. Obama named Holbrooke to lead the diplomatic effort - and Mike Mullen is working with him. Mullen has strengthened relations with countries in the area. They and Clinton, Biden and others are finishing an integrated solution.

Obama has yet to make case for what may be a bigger, longer effort than Americans expect. Spoke of meetings with administration. No US AID administrator - troubled that AID money is being given to Dept of Agriculture (work usually done by AID) The hearings offered the administration invitations - and they were declined. Hopes the administration will be ready to speak soon.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. First witness - on narco problem
+General John Craddock, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Former Supreme Allied Commander-Europe
Myrtle Beach, SC

Spoke of how many labs destroyed, people arrested and drugs confiscated. much needs to be done - corruption in country a major problem.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
4. Second witness - former ambassador to Pakistan and Iraq
The Honorable Ryan Crocker
Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Pakistan
U.S. Charge dAffaires to Afghanistan
Department of State
Spokane, WA

Need to build a stable relationship with Pakistan - he praised Kerry/Lugar bill as a good effort to do this. He said some Pakistani claims that after we withdrew in 1990s, they had no choice but to help the Taliban. He said that there has been success in reducing power of warlords in Afghanistan. Positive step that Obama is willing to talk to Iran - says that Afghanistan should be on agenda as they also benefit from a stable Iraq.

President needs to lead the way and hopes committee continues to get views from the field.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
5. Third witness
Dr. Clare Lockhart
Co-founder and Director
Institute of State Effectiveness
Washington, DC

Speaks of strengthening Afghanistan to remove the weaknesses that allowed AQ to come in.

Mistakes made:
- no strategy for civilian/diplomatic side
- too little money - not even enough to pay doctors $20 a month - no jobs leads to people going to narco jobs and Taleban
- need police and other gov't

Need:
Rule of law
Public finance - how does Afghanisatn raise money
Education - can't have civil service if education ends at 11

Culture of corruption not inherently Afghan -

Pessimism
Loss generation, decades of war and corruption. She does not think it too late.

Strategy emerging under Eikenbury - create necessary institutions. Elections was poorly managed.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
6. Fouth Witness - expert on refugees
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 09:21 AM by karynnj
Dr. Khaled Hosseini
U.S. Envoy for the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
San Jose, CA

UNHCR has 14 offices. After the fall of Taliban, they repatriated 5 million refugees.

He returned last week from a trip to Afghanistan. Some have successfully returned, but many are having problem getting basic services and jobs. 2 million still live in exile because the conditions are so bad. Afghans have to work on jobs, security, and basic services.

Afghanistan in conflict and war for 30 years and they have suffered greatly. some progress - 6 million kids go to school, access to health improved. But much more has to be done. Life expectancy is very low - more women die in childbirth than people die in all the ieds etc. Afghans disappointed, but they don't want to go back to the past. No inherent radicalism. Afghans are grateful for what we did. Afghans are a proud people.

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
7. Questions - Kerry
Said, even if Taliban and AG not there, the humanitarian needs would make for a challenging foreign policy. Obama policy is to fight AQ and avoid the destabilization of Pakistan. What is the real impact of the Taliban taking over in Afghanistan on Pakistan. Would it be an existential threat to Pakistan. Crocker - says that we have seen an increasing militancy and the fear that is becoming an existential threat. He then said that they fear US leaving as we did in past - Kerry referred to Kerry/Lugar saying there is no intention to abandon them. Asks about Steward's comment yesterday that our effort could be disturbing to Pakistan. Said no one in Pakistan thought we should leave. Kerry - not speaking of a complete withdrawal - rather there is a question of what we should be doing.

Kerry says he thinks Obama's position is counter-terrorism in Afghanistan and stabilization in Pakistan.

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
8. Lugar -
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 09:38 AM by karynnj
Speaking of a comment yesterday that we need stability in Afghanistan is strategically important because of its impact on stability in Pakistan. There is a problem with whether Karzai can be trusted by the people. (Refers to elections questions here and in Iran.) Says if they need a run off election, the problem is that we are running too far into the colder season when it will be difficult, if not impossible. Troop levels - ask any comments on his rumminations.

Need umbrella of security around towns to allow gov't and economy to grow.

Craddock - refers to Kerry's comment that military alone is not enough. Funding of insurgency has been from narcotics - need to take away that source. Lugar says gov't gets that money too - corruption.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
9. Feingold says no one is arguing for deserting Afghanistan,
but there is reason to question the overly military centric strategy. Crocker says - no purely military solution in Afghanistan and Pakistan - need to define the tasks of how to get "good enough governance". Need strategy before we speak of troop level. Feingold - Afghans polled showed that more troops not wanted. Hossinie says that some are not happy and see it as occupation, but they still see it as necessary. Feingold - asked but what of more? Hossinie said their fear is LESS, not MORE. They ARE concerned with how troops behave. Afghan society is nuanced, even if it looks backward.

Feingold - Europe asking for metrics and timelines, should we signal we don't want occupation. Craddock - says we need timeline of development of Afghani police force.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #9
25. Thanks for the thread. n/t
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:43 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. You're welcome
Feingold's questioning was very interesting. The media has portrayed Feingold as opposing Obama and demanding a timeline. This showed that Crocker and Kerry etc are all saying the same thing as Obama on needing first to get the strategy right - and Feingold was in agreement. They are also all in agreement that there is no just military solution. They also all have concerns that there is potential for our presence being perceived as an occupation - and his timeline is being proposed as a way to signal against that.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
10. Senator Corker -
Compliments the hearing.

Two things:
- We are there (once we put flag up, we are resistant to leaving)
- Want to show we are not fair weather friends

What expectations should we have in Afghanistan?
In Iraq, military success with surge (URRRGH) and with Sunni Awakening. Croker- bad record of success with counter insurgency without "good enough governance" in the country. Need to define goals.

Senator Corker says that what Lockhart spoke of is nation building - as they are very poor with few resources. She says they do have rich mineral resources and agricultural goods, textiles etc. She recommends doubling outside funds.

How many AQ? Craddock - I don't know. No hierarchy we would recognize. We are in 2 state nation building efforts - we need a better strategy than building nations out of whole cloth.


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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
11. Casey -
He is concerns with DC language - win/lose victory/defeat - counterproductive. Words used to describe success were sustainable stability - is that the same in Afghanistan. Crocker says he agrees that sustainable stability is good as is Lockhart's "good enough governance". If it provides a situation for the country's security forces to achieve sustainable stability, it is good. Don't know what it will look like.

Casey to Dr Lockhart, what of a civilian surge - was impressed how well integrated they were when he visited. How many? How do we get it right with international partners? Lockhart says probably not more than 1000 needed. Real thorough look at the gaps in Afghan competencies. (Gap with no schools in Afghan hurts developing civil service.) Need to look at World Bank. Need to look at what Europe and China could do.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
12. Wicker
Asks about when the independent election committee will speak - says the administration seems to reluctantly accept Karzi won. Asks Hossieni - Afghans expected more form government - surely some irregularities - whether they will force a new election or runnoff not established there - should be done thoroughly and expeditiously and has to have semblance of credibility. The elections were an incredible feat - shouldn't be compared to US or France. For 30 years the transfer of power was violence. The international committee should not rush to judgment.

Lockhart says if EU right that one third of ballots irregular will mean that Karzi does not have majority. One If they just accept it. if people see it unfair it could hurt. Two - bottom up work on counter insurgency. 3) benchmarks going forward. 4) back to drawing board.

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
13. Webb
Compliments hearing and panel. Problem of building a huge infrastructure to fight a mobile threat. (some comment on long term good ??) National mission creep. Question is whether military component of this is going to work? At what point is there a tipping point where military be counterproductive and an occupation? How do you build Afghan national army when this is not there history.

Lockhart - There is a point, but we haven't reached it. Majority is ok with US commitment. She thinks building national army is possible and they are proud of their institutions.

To Crocker - You said the various people in Iraq had come together, what of Afghanistan. He said the army more so than the police could do this. They are proud of their military. Takes time. In Iraq, early tests nearly took them apart.
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
14. Big thanks Karyn!
Do you happen to know what Corker is doing nowadays? From what I know, he did a good job under the circumstances. Toward the end of his tenure he was looking like a ghost.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Not sure
I don't think Kerry mentioned in his comments, but he might have said something. I do remember that when the Republicans held up the confirmation on his replacement, Kerry argued that he was ill and really needed to leave to return to the US.
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Did not know he was ill
consistent with how he looked.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #17
24. He was really very good on this panel
Kerry had some hearings when he headed the near east and south asia sub- committee where Corker was there.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
15. Shaheen
Asks Lockhart which of 4 options of governance that she mentioned to Wicker - letting current government continue or doing that and developing from bottom up would not work. The other two are better as it admits problem and works to make it better.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
18. Kaufman
praised the panels and Kerry setting them up as great.

Kaufman asks if the Somali attack could be a model in Afghanistan. Craddock said that that is what they have done. Spoke of the how with the amorphous nature of AQ, someone else steps up. Crocker - says that McChistal is excellent and if that could be done it would be done.

Asked anyone how the election could be expedited - Lockhart spoke of how they had to wait on ECC (Afghan's election oversight organization). Mentioned possibly a coalition government with enough of the other candidates.

Asked about getting enough diplomats and civilian forces to avoid using contractors. Lugar has worked this a long time. Crocker asked about figuring out how to have an AFghani equivilent to the Sunni Awaking. Crocker said the right people are in place - harder because of ideology of Taleban.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
19. Kerry
Asked if we are losing the enthusiasm of our allies in NATO and they have been reluctant to engage. Craddock says that we could get trainers and possibly civilian people. There is a threat definition differences. Europe things that terrorism should be dealt with as a police problem.

Asks Lockhart - waning enthusiasm in Europe because there has been no convincing strategy articulated.
Kerry - Lockhart's strategy is a strong nation building - suggests looking to Europe for help on the civilian side.

Kerry - Can we do security with less deaths? Craddock - Insurgents can always create situations. Says that NATO has led to each country dealing only with their province at the expense of the country. There has been no strategy for 8 years. Asked about the historical depth of the Taliban - asked if there is a way to offer something to cull out all but the hard core. Croker - said that is what they did in Iraq - trying to find fissures to break up the insurgency. A similar approach has promise in Afghanistan. Seeking ways to engage will show how to shrink them down to the irreconcilables. Housieni says Taliban is a cluster of different groups - there is no clear leadership structure so it is hard to know who to speak to. There is little incentive for them as they think they frustrated the coalition, but if they see it in their self interest, it may work.

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Casey
To Houssieni - What is the short term problem with relocating and will there be more refugees? Reintegration is a challenge as they before the 30 years of conflict were near the bottom already - and war destroyed much of what they had. Many refugees face lack of all basic services. The era of voluntary return is likely over. Low absorption capacity, lack of employment conditions (many in Iran better there), lack of security (many in Pakistan) and also many elsewhere no longer think, live like Afghans.

Asked about the draft on the metrics the Obama administration just wrote - Craddock says he didn't see them - but says they need to measure things that define how successful they are - rather than just measuring what is easy to measure. Calls for pulling a lot of analytical people together.

Hearing ajourned.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
21. Kerry's and Lugar's statements are on the SFRC website
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) delivered the following opening statement at the hearing titled ―Countering the Threat of Failure in Afghanistan‖:

Yesterday was the first in a series of hearings on Afghanistan being conducted by this Committee. We heard three compelling cases for how America should proceed. The prescriptions ranged from dramatically reducing our footprint to expanding our commitment of troops and money to a level that would basically constitute nation building.
John Nagl, co-author of the militarys counterinsurgency manual, argued that victory could require as many as 600,000 more troops and a commitment of at least five years. The bulk of those troopsup to 400,000 would eventually be Afghan, but U.S. forces would be needed for years as trainers, as combat mentors, and to fill the security gap before the Afghans could take over.
Stephen Biddle argued that the benefits of a stepped-up counterinsurgency campaign outweighed the costsbut that it was a close call. He acknowledged both the need for more troops and the genuine possibility of failure even if we up the ante. In his view, there could be no effective counterterrorism without an effective counterinsurgency and he agreed with Nagl about the need for significant U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan to help prevent the destabilization of Pakistan.
Finally, Rory Stewart challenged key assumptions of the administrations policy. Instead of escalation, he recommended that we maintain a small counter-terrorism capacity to deny a safe haven to Al Qaeda and continue providing development aid on a low-key but long- term basis. He argued that we need not physically block Al Qaeda from returning to Afghanistanwe just have to keep Afghanistan from providing Al Qaeda with conditions of security and operational ease that they couldnt get in Pakistan, Somalia, or elsewhere. He argued that Pakistan would stand or fall on its own, regardless of events across the border.
Listening to those distinguished experts argue their cases -- and listening to the penetrating questions of my colleagues -- it was obvious that there are fundamental disagreements that must be resolved as we debate this important and difficult issue.
Despite the differences, I believe there are some central truths on which we can all agree.
First, we need a winning civilian strategy. I have said repeatedly that we will not force the surrender of the Taliban by military force alone. Therefore, any strategy that lacks a strong civilian component is doomed.
Second, our greatest national priority here is to insure that Afghanistan does not destabilize Pakistan. As we debate how to succeed in Afghanistan, we must evaluate the impact of every decision on our beleaguered allies in Islamabad.
But history tells us that the challenge is not only from the east. Afghanistan shares a 1,300-mile northern border with Central Asian countries that have suffered from instability themselves. Iran and Russia also have vested interests in Afghanistan. Unless we find common ground with them, we will continue competing instead of cooperating.
Third, we need to counter the growing narcotics problem. As we described in a Committee report released last month, senior military and civilian officials believe it will be extremely difficult to defeat the Taliban and establish good government without disrupting Afghanistans opium trade. Afghanistan supplies more than 90% of the worlds heroin and generates about $3 billion a year in profits money that helps finance the Taliban and other militant groups.
We must be realistic and pragmatic. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is not a re-construction project it is a construction project in one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. We have to come up with concrete goals and be clear about what and how much we are prepared to do to achieve them.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Statements from the 4 experts are on the site as well
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
23. K&R
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