- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
- CIA admits $3 billion intelligence operation was a flop
Top Marine: Afghan role to continue ‘a few years’
It will likely be a few years before Afghanistan is secure enough for the U.S. Marines to leave, Commandant Gen. James Conway said Tuesday, adding his voice to a growing chorus of military leaders warning of a long fight ahead.
Afghan war commander Gen. David H. Petraeus and other senior officers have recently said that considerable time will be needed before Afghan troops can take over the fight.
But Gen. Conway’s blunt assessment was the first of its kind to come from a service chief since President Obama announced that U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan in July 2011. Last fall, Mr. Obama said that security conditions will determine how many forces can leave and how fast.
“In some ways, we think right now it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance,” Gen. Conway said of the 2011 deadline. “We think that he may be saying to himself … ‘Hey, you know, we only have to hold out for so long.’”
But, Gen. Conway quickly added, the perception that the U.S. is pulling out completely is likely to work in America’s favor after the deadline passes, when Marines are still fighting insurgents. Taliban morale is likely to drop when “come the fall we’re still there hammering them like we have been,” he said.
“I think it could be very good for us in that context, in terms of the enemy psyche,” he said.
Gen. Conway, known for his candor, is planning to retire this fall after 40 years in the Marines.
“Though I certainly believe some American unit somewhere in Afghanistan will turn over responsibilities to Afghan security forces in 2011, I do not think they will be Marines,” he told reporters in his opening remarks at a Pentagon news conference.
Noting that Helmand and Kandahar are considered the “birthplace” of the Taliban, Gen. Conway said, “I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us.”
Gen. Conway said he wants to prepare Marines for the likelihood that the war will continue past the 2011 deadline. He recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, where he said morale was high because Marines “can sense conditions are turning [in] their direction.”
But “when that will come remains to be seen,” he said.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Let’s talk about everything, especially the absurdity of it all
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow