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For Obama, Withdrawal is Off the Table

October 8, 2009

On Wednesday (Oct. 7) the Grand Rapids Press ran an Associated Press article headline, “You can call it a war: US Afghanistan plan unsettled, but Obama won’t shrink its status.”

The story is about a recent meeting that the Obama administration had with top Republicans and Democrats to discuss the future plan for Afghanistan. The article states that nothing has been decided on as of yet, except that US withdrawal from Afghanistan is off the table. The article further states,

“Obama said the war would not be reduced to a narrowly defined counterterrorism effort, with the withdrawal of many U.S. forces and an emphasis on special operations forces that target terrorists in the dangerous border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two senior administration officials aides say such a scenario has been inaccurately characterized and linked to Vice President Joe Biden, and that Obama wanted to make clear he is considering no such plan.”

map_of_afghanistan

So, even a downsized troop focus on doing counter-insurgency work is not an option. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not the administration will send more troops on top of the 20,000 they have already added this year.

Unfortunately, the article provides no assessment of the current US occupation of Afghanistan, nor any Afghani perspectives. The article also does not question the fundamental premise of the US occupation, which the administration claims is to “defeat the Taliban and rid al-Qaida of a home base.” This story only provides a very narrow framework for discussing the US position on the War in Afghanistan, a point which independent journalist Glenn Greenwald has recent made.

The GR Press version of the AP story omitted information about a recent poll, which showed that, “Public support for the war in Afghanistan is dropping. It stands at 40 percent, down from 44 percent in July, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.” This growing opposition is reflected in the increasing number of activities across the country where people are organizing to oppose the US occupation of Afghanistan.

More importantly, the majority of Afghanis are opposed to the US occupation, a perspective that people who read the Press would rarely see, based on a recent study we conducted of their coverage of Afghanistan. There continues to be good independent coverage of what is going on in Afghanistan, like this excellent video from independent journalist Rick Rowley.

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