Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The noose tightens

Today was chock full of bad news for our excellent adventure in Afghanistan. First, a bridge leading to the Khyber pass was blown up, cutting off truck movement. Then, Kyrgyzstan's president said that the US must leave a key air base in that country.

True, Gen. Petraeus did inform reporters that the good president was in error and that the US was not leaving that base. It could be that there is just some brinkmanship on Kyrgyzstan's part, and they'll be contented with more money, and an apology from the US for gunning down a local, raising tempers. And the US always insists after a bunch of trucks have been blown up or stolen, or the route has been interrupted, that there is no supply problem. I remain unconvinced.

Clearly, air transport can't substitute for overland deliveries. Fuel especially, which the US military uses in vast quantities, needs to be trucked in. b, at Moon of Alabama, shows the available routes to Afghanistan. Looking at the map there, the only practical alternative to Pakistan is, yep, Iran.

But there are few signs that the Obama administration will be trying to defuse tensions with Tehran. In fact, apart from still (and for how long?) calling for a draw down from Iraq, one is hard put to find any substantive changes from the Bush/Cheney policies. Iran had the nerve to successfully launch a satellite today as well, something that they're not supposed to do, though it's not clear why. The new Clintonized State Department called it 'worrisome'. They'd better start worrying about getting supplies to Afghanistan. And maybe Petraeus, though clearly the greatest general EVAR, might not be the greatest diplomat EVAR.


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