Inside the Ring

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The focus of the operation is to provide “credible and effective governance that gives the population hope for the future.”

“More effective government will deliver security, basic services, development and employment,” he said. “If these ends are achieved, the people of Kandahar will reject the insurgency and support the government.”

A combination of military and civilian efforts will seek to provide security and “drive insurgents from the city and outlying districts by steadily restricting their freedom to operate,” he said.

“Hamkari is not about highly kinetic military operations,” Gen. Paxton said, noting that it is about using resources to bolster the Afghan forces.

Gen. Paxton said that insurgents in Afghanistan continue to have enough freedom to operate, as the recent string of suicide bombings shows. He said the lack of police forces and government resources were a continuing problem.

The Rev. Graham defended

A group of 36 Republican House members on Wednesday pressed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in a letter to reverse the Pentagon’s decision to block the Rev. Franklin Graham from attending the National Day of Prayer set for Thursday. He had been asked to speak at the meeting.

Mr. Graham, son of the famed evangelist Billy Graham, was disinvited several weeks ago after pro-Muslim critics complained about his public statements on Islam. He told MSNBC this week that he was disinvited because he had once called Islam an “evil” religion.

Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who helped organize the letter, said in a statement he wants the younger Mr. Graham re-invited.

“To rescind Franklin Graham’s invitation for these overtly political reasons is a disgrace that is obviously being done to placate a few outspoken critics, and an affront to those ideals that are the essence of America and that are reflected throughout America’s history,” Mr. Franks said.

A statement on the Rev. Billy Graham’s website Wednesday stated “even if President Obama fails to intervene to allow him to lead a National Day of Prayer event at the Pentagon Thursday, Franklin Graham will still be there — praying for the U.S. military and his own son who is serving in Afghanistan.”

About the Author

Bill Gertz INSIDE THE RING

Bill Gertz is geopolitics editor and a national security and investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

Mr. Gertz also writes a weekly column ...

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