Feed the Monster
From The UK Guardian:
Barack Obama today won agreement for substantial Nato troop reinforcements in Afghanistan, when nine European nations, including Britain, said they would send up to 5,000 troops and logistical help ahead of the presidential elections there in August. Britain is to send 900 extra troops almost immediately, who will remain until October.
The decision, made at a Nato summit in Strasbourg, will be a profound political relief for the US president, who badly needed to be able to show his domestic audience that his offer of a new style of partnership with Europe could reap tangible results.
News of the reinforcements came as Nato named the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as its next leader after overcoming Turkish opposition.
David Miliband the foreign secretary said the surprisingly large number of troops offered was proof of a palpable “Obama effect.”
But the NY Times is not satisfied:
European leaders offered few extra troops on Saturday for President Obama’s intensified effort in Afghanistan, with most of the soldiers only on temporary security assignment, underlining deep divisions within the alliance over the war.
For a NATO summit meeting marking the 60th anniversary of the alliance and intended to be without drama, the event has been fractious both inside the hall and outside it.
Thousands of protesters clashed with the riot police and set a hotel and a border post on fire in Strasbourg during the session. And although NATO leaders finally reached an agreement on a new secretary general — the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 56 — the deal came only after days of hard negotiations to overcome Turkey’s opposition.
As expected, European allies agreed to provide up to 5,000 new troops for Afghanistan, the White House said Saturday. But 3,000 of them are to be deployed only temporarily to provide security for the August elections in Afghanistan. A further 1,400 to 2,000 soldiers will be sent to form embedded training teams for the Afghan Army and the police.
Mr. Obama is raising the number of American troops this year to about 68,000 from the current 38,000, which will significantly Americanize the war. The new strategy, which the Europeans have pressed for, is aimed at creating larger and better-trained Afghan security forces that can defend the state and allow the West to leave.
Is it simply that the Guardian, representing liberal European consensus “across the pond” simply differs with the Times’ (reportedly) liberal American definition of “substantial” troop deployments?
The difference in tone could not be more striking. “Golly,” chirps the Guardian, “5,000 troops is quite a haul, eh wot?” Yet the Times, chomping its Nick Fury cigar, growls, “Friggin’ panty waists…we need more bodies for the meat grinder! Can’t you see we’re at WAR!?”