Trump Sets U.S. Strategy for Afghan War

Tuesday, August 22, 2017Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 9.32.52 AM

Good Tuesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team
THE NEW WASHINGTON

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The White House press secretary is one of the most visible jobs in American politics. Michael Grynbaum spoke with Ms. Sanders about growing up as the daughter of a prominent politician, inheriting her position after her celebrity predecessor Sean Spicer quit and trying to manage coverage of a tumultuous White House while mollifying a boss who believes he is his own best spokesman.

News Analysis

Trump’s Strategy May Help in Afghanistan, but Few Expect ‘Outright Victory’

By MICHAEL R. GORDON
American troops kept watch near the wreckage of their vehicle at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan, this month.

American troops kept watch near the wreckage of their vehicle at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan, this month. Javed Tanveer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Trump’s new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, which he laid out Monday night in a televised address, is intended to give a badly needed boost to the campaign to push back the Taliban, step up the fight against terrorism and reverse the steady deterioration of security that has allowed devastating bombings to shake Kabul.
The strategy, which would require several thousand more troops to carry out, will most likely help, current and former United States commanders said. It would allow American officers to more closely advise Afghan brigades, train more Afghan special operations forces and call in American firepower.
But even those who support Mr. Trump’s strategy cast his decision as the start of yet another challenging chapter that might, at best, enable Afghan forces to regain momentum on the battlefield over the next several years, not a quick fix for the problems that have bedeviled the region for nearly 16 years.
“I do not think many believe there could be an outright victory,” said Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has been an advocate of sending more troops to Afghanistan. “But if President Trump can reverse the momentum, then he could arguably claim bragging rights and achieve at least a partial strategic success.”
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Speaker Paul D. Ryan during a news conference at the Capitol last month.

Ryan Condemns Trump’s ‘Both Sides’ Remark but Tries to Move On

By EMILY COCHRANE

Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, was repeatedly asked during a town hall in Wisconsin about the president’s remarks and tweets.

Full Transcript and Video: Trump’s Speech on Afghanistan

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

President Trump addressed the nation from Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Va., about his military plan for Afghanistan.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Rod Dreher in The American Conservative:
“He fought for the wrong side and deserved to lose. But notice that after he lost, he called on all defeated Southerners to cease hostilities and to commit themselves to the service of the United States. […] It mattered that he did not urge bitter resistance, but rather nobly counseled patriotism.”
After New Orleans decided to take down its statue of Robert E. Lee in May, Mr. Dreher wrote a response to the controversy. He said that he was “not losing sleep” over the removal of other Confederate leaders, but that he was troubled by the move to take down a memorial to Lee, a “far more complex man” than many people realize. Read more »
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From the Left
• Adam Serwer in The Atlantic:
“To describe this man as an American hero requires ignoring the immense suffering for which he was personally responsible, both on and off the battlefield.”
Mr. Serwer takes on the “myth of the kindly General Lee,” arguing that this was a man “whose devotion to white supremacy outshone his loyalty to his country.” There’s no way, he writes, that one can defend Lee in “good conscience” unless one puts “tribe and race over country.” Read more »
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