Which is to say none, really. Keeping in mind the bankruptcy of the “safe haven” argument, let’s see what government officials and the press have to say about changes after McChrystal’s embarrassing exit.
A debate over the administration’s war strategy is already underway, as Democratic and Republicans lawmakers clashed Sunday over whether Obama should rethink his pledge now that a new commander will oversee the war.”I’m against a timetable,” Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Warning that a timetable emboldens the enemy to wait for Americans to depart, he added, “A high-ranking Taliban prisoner said, ‘You’ve got the watches and we’ve got the time.’ ”
But Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the committee chairman, said a timetable is crucial to show “urgency to the Afghan government that they must take responsibility … for their own security.”
“The only way you get things done is by setting dates,” Levin said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The dispute over the start of the U.S. withdrawal is likely to be a prominent issue Tuesday when Petraeus faces senators in a hearing on his confirmation. Petraeus, now head of all U.S. forces in the Middle East, was chosen for the top post in Afghanistan after the removal of Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal for comments critical of civilian leaders in a magazine article.
And as a bonus:
CIA Director Leon Panetta, appearing on ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday, said the agency had awarded Xe Services LLC — the company formerly known as Blackwater — a contract to protect its installations in Afghanistan. The contract, reported by the Washington Post to be worth $100 million, is in addition to a separate contract Xe has with the State Department to protect U.S. officials in the country.
Blackwater was involved by a series of controversial incidents, including a deadly shootout in Baghdad in 2007 that claimed the lives of Iraqi civilians and became a political liability for the U.S. government.