Refocusing On The War In Afghanistan
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
Many eyes in the U.S. are focused on the Gulf of Mexico as oil continues to gush from the ruptured BP well, but NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr is looking in another direction.
DANIEL SCHORR: Not even the crushing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico can dim the impact of the war in Afghanistan. The operation to retake Kandahar province seems to be on hold. The Karzai government seems to be at odds with itself. Two higher officials with American connections in the Karzai government have resigned in disgust.
According to the New York Times, President Karzai told them he didn't believe the Taliban was responsible for the rocket attack on the Peace Jirga conference earlier this month. The suggestion was that the rocket was an American covert operation aimed at undermining Karzai.
The shaky relationships between the United States and its beleaguered client state is bound to come front and center when the Obama administration applies to Congress for several billion dollars to pursue the war against the Taliban.
Six months ago, the president outlined a plan to start withdrawing troops by July of next year. Complete withdrawal is a long way off. General David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the deadline was meant to stress the urgency of the situation. But the pressure for domestic programs is increasing and the debate may set the stage for a new guns versus butter controversy.
The administration still has to submit its budget and the pressures are strong for averting teacher layoffs and promoting economic stimulus. How many are ready to stand behind what may be a losing war? And how great is the temptation for Republicans and maybe some Democrats to cut funding for the war, and sadly, the administration with this year's version of the Vietnam tragedy.
Or is there something left that is still called patriotic bipartisanship that extends to the water's edge? The question is whether this partisan Congress is capable of any bipartisanship at all.
This is Daniel Schorr.