Lawrence Nicholson

Shorter Gen. Nicholson: “Yeah, We Lied Earlier About Afghan Troop Capabilities, But You Can Believe Us This Time”

It would appear that even the Washington Post is beginning to see through the way that the Defense Department continues to make outrageous claims regarding the capabilities of Afghan National Security Forces. An article published last night to the Post’s website carries the headline “Panetta, other U.S. officials in Kabul paint rosy picture of Afghan situation”. The article opens in conventional news-as-transcription-of-government-narrative fashion:

With Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in Kabul to take stock as the Obama administration weighs how quickly to draw down troops over the next two years, a senior U.S. military commander on Wednesday hailed the progress Afghan security forces have made.

Marine Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the head of operations for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said NATO troops have begun a radical shift in mission: doing the bare minimum to support Afghan troops, who, he said, are starting to operate unilaterally. “We’re now un-partnering from” Afghan forces, Nicholson told reporters Wednesday evening. “We’re at that stage of the fight.”

The article then plants a hint, stating that if Afghan forces are seen as achieving capability to function on their own, the US withdrawal can be accelerated from the current plan of taking another two years.

Remarkably, the Post then moves on to provide some perspective for Nicholson’s claim:

The assessment Nicholson offered, however, is far rosier than the one that U.S. officials have provided recently. They have been citing the resilience of the Taliban and the shortcomings of the Afghan government and military.

Just one of 23 Afghan army brigades is able to operate on its own without air or other military support from the United States or NATO, according to a Pentagon report to Congress that was released Monday.

But Nicholson wants us to believe that even though the Defense Department has been lying for years about Afghan troop capabilities, they really, really mean it this time and we should believe them:

Nicholson said that although U.S. commanders have made “disingenuous” claims in the past about the extent to which Afghans were acting as equal partners in joint missions, officials now see the Afghan army as ready to operate largely on its own, albeit with key logistical and financial support from NATO. The new strategy as the United States tries to transfer greater responsibility to the Afghan government and military is one of “tough love,” Nicholson said.

Sadly, Nicholson’s claims appear to have no more credibility than previous DoD claims on ANSF capabilities. Consider this exchange from the briefing held Monday at the Defense Department, featuring as speakers Senior Defense Official “[Briefer name deleted]” and Senior State Department Official “[briefer name deleted]” where we see that the Post isn’t the only media operation that sees through the duplicity. This exchange starts with a question from Lita Baldor of AP [emphasis added]: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @ShaunKing That's a Page as distinct from a post. Different category. Then you need to tell WP where you want it to shot up.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Wolverweenies apparently bought the same corrupt refs Notre Dame regularly does. Only way they can win! #SayNoToBoMerlot
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @downwithtyranny @Atrios Also, if "material support for terrorism" can be applied to youths who cant afford tennis shoes, then Pete King too
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @downwithtyranny @Atrios Cause out here in desert, we still wear those Corbin, Brooks+other summer suits. DC reporters NOT fashion arbiters!
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @downwithtyranny @Atrios Wait a second Howie, you are not on the Tan Suit killer crew are you?? OK, didn't think so.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz McCain, Peter King and Danielle Fucking Pletka?? This weeks winner of total Sunday Talk Show loserdom is once again Face The Nation.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @downwithtyranny What's odd is if he had any hope of doing well in 2016 it'd have to be reaching out to white working class worried abt jobs
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @OBEYshiba Meh, would not expect you to know Bill or John Ross. Even as a local, unless you were an attorney around at the time. Good guys.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @MasaccioFDL Well-dressed bedwetters, presumably
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dangillmor True! Something to be "proud" of. Outdoing OK in modernized barbarism.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @laRosalind No no. The US uses OTHER barbaric ways of executing people. Very modern barbaric ways. @dangillmor
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @OBEYshiba Bill Blakley was a friend of mine. Great guy.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
August 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31