Dem Views

By Thomas Duffy / May 6, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee today issued new reports on the war in Afghanistan and U.S. cooperation with Pakistan in fighting terrorism.

On Afghanistan, the committee's view on the Obama administration's handling of the war since taking over is laid out early in the report:

Sixteen months later, the situation is markedly different. Not only do we have a fully-resourced, comprehensive civil-military strategy in place, we are beginning to witness signs of real progress toward securing key parts of the country and turning the tide against a resurgent Taliban. While realistic about the critical challenges ahead, military leaders and top Administration officials consider the recent success of U.S.-led operations in Helmand Province a strong indication that we are moving in the right direction. As Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michele Flournoy recently underscored, “we are seeing conditions beginning to develop that we believe will ultimately be necessary for success. And for the first time we believe we have the right mission, the right strategy, the right leadership, and the right level of resources in support of the mission.”((2))

Next Wednesday Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will give a classified briefing on the war to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The policy committee also sees good signs in the Obama administration's handling of relations with Pakistan:

The Obama Administration has made building a partnership with Pakistan a central U.S. national security priority. The previous Administration pursued a dangerously short-sighted and simplistic approach toward Pakistan. For years, it relied on a military strategy built primarily on a personal relationship with President Musharraf and, in effect, outsourced U.S. counterterrorism efforts to the Pakistani military – funneling $11 billion in military assistance to Pakistan with little oversight or accountability, and very few results. At the same time, the Bush Administration neglected critical development needs in Pakistan, failing to address root causes contributing to the growth of violent extremism in the region. While investing heavily in counterterrorism initiatives and military aid, nonmilitary assistance was virtually nonexistent: throughout Fiscal Years 2002-2007, just one percent of U.S. spending in Pakistan’s tribal region was devoted to development efforts. This fundamental imbalance not only prevented the development of a viable partnership with the Pakistani government, it also stymied our ability to effectively address the Taliban and al Qaeda threat and advance other central national security goals in the region.

The Pakistan report is here.