Friday, December 07, 2012

ISW Discusses the Surge in Afghanistan with Recent Commanders

Institute for the Study of War ~       For Immediate Release ~

Washington, D.C. – On November 30, 2012, the Institute for the Study of War welcomed Major General (Promotable) James Huggins and Lieutenant Colonel (Promotable) J.B. Vowell to The Army and Navy Club to discuss the effects of the surge in Afghanistan and the challenges that remain.  
Huggins expressed hopes that Afghanistan is heading in the right direction saying, “I firmly believe that the Afghan security forces are on the right path, on the right azimuth.  I believe that the strategy we’re executing in accordance with the surge plan from ’09 is achieving the effects that we wanted it to.  It’s just that we have adjusted troop strengths, we have adjusted timelines, and we are moving as fast as we can and our soldiers are doing incredible work there.”
Huggins oversaw the retrograde of approximately eleven thousand forces from his area of responsibility, leaving two Stryker Brigade Combat Teams where originally there had been six BCTs.  “[A]s we downsize[d] to two Stryker brigade combat teams when I left, I told them [my higher headquarters] that was the bare minimum I think we could use and still conduct the mission as it is prescribed today.”
He acknowledged that difficulty remains, but stressed the importance of continuing the fight. “We face some tough decisions in what’s going to happen in the future, but I would reiterate as long as we can continue to work off of conditions that we are achieving with our Afghan security partners, to continue to cement the hard-fought gains and the sacrifices we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
LTC Vowell, former commander of Task Force No Slack in Kunar, Afghanistan, discussed the difficult operating environment in that province, where al-Qaeda and its affiliates continue to operate, and stressed the importance of continuing engagement in Afghanistan.
“I’m very happy with the mission that No Slack did, and I think there’s hope for the future in Afghanistan but I’m cautious as well that it could be reversed…We could lose what we’ve gained so far if we withdraw from our gains too precipitously and we don’t continue to support the Afghan government and the region in the roads ahead.”

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The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization. ISW advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


By Erick Erickson ~

Jim DeMint, the standard bearer of the conservative movement in America and conservative king maker, is resigning from the United States Senate at the end of the year.

He will succeed Ed Fuelner as President of the Heritage Foundation.

While my initial reaction was one of sadness that we are losing the clearest voice in the Senate for conservatives, the upside on Jim DeMint's departure from the Senate is mind boggling.

Please allow me to explain why and why you should be thrilled by this move

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Stop Playing Games

The Patriot Post ~

The Foundation

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." --Thomas Jefferson

Editorial Exegesis

Demo deficit reduction plan
Demo deficit reduction plan"Both the White House and House Republicans are pretending that their goal is 'reducing the deficit,' which they suggest means making real spending choices. ... Since 1974, Capitol Hill's 'baseline' has automatically increased spending every year according to Congressional Budget Office projections, which means before anyone has submitted a budget or cast a single vote. Tax and spending changes are then measured off that inflated baseline, not in absolute terms. The most absurd current example is Mr. Obama's claim that his '$4 trillion' plan reduces the deficit by about $800 billion over 10 years by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But those 'savings,' as he calls them, are measured against a White House budget office spending baseline that is fictional. Those wars are already being unwound and everyone knows the money will never be spent. But they are called 'savings' to gull the public and make the deficit reduction add up to a large-sounding $4 trillion. ... In Washington, Democrats designed this system to make it easier to defend annual spending increases and to portray any reduction in the baseline as a spending 'cut.' Chris Wallace called Timothy Geithner on this 'gimmick' on 'Fox News Sunday' this week, only to have the Treasury Secretary insist it's real. Republicans used to object to this game, but in recent years they seem to have given up. In an October 2010 speech at the American Enterprise Institute, House Speaker Boehner proposed that 'we ought to start at square one' and rewrite the 1974 budget act. But he then dropped the idea, and in the current debate the GOP is putting itself at a major disadvantage by negotiating off the phony baseline. In a press release Tuesday, his own office advertised the need for 'spending cuts' that aren't even cuts. If Republicans really want to slow the growth in spending, they need to stop playing by Beltway rules and start explaining to America why Mr. Obama keeps saying he's cutting spending even as spending and deficits keep going up and up and up." --The Wall Street Journal


"I have several pet peeves, and one of them is the idea that when Americans get to keep their own money, it somehow 'costs' the government." --columnist John J. Miller

"[T]he message coming out of Washington, especially from our leftist politicians and the news media, is that we solve our budget problems by raising taxes on the rich. If Americans were more informed, such a message would be insulting to our intelligence. There are not enough rich people to satisfy Congress' appetite." --economist Walter E. Williams