Afghanistan Plan Conference Call
Denis McDonough, deputy assistant to the president in charge of strategic communications for the National Security Council, and Caitlin Hayden, director of communications at NSC, held a conference call this afternoon, organized by the White House, to discuss the plan with invited bloggers.
Uncharacteristically, I managed to get in the first question and some follow-ups:
JAMES JOYNER (Atlantic Council): “What’s the exit strategy? How will we know when we’ve won and can go home?”
MCDONOUGH: Afghans take the lead role. We’ve seen “fundamental strategic drift” and now have a “clear goal” to have “key metrics” to measure success.
JOYNER: “What’s the timeframe? Ten years? Twenty years? Thirty years? Or simply however long it takes to achieve metrics?”
MCDONOUGH: We’ll have regular reporting to assess metrics.
JOYNER: “But we’re willing to stay indefinitely so long as we’re achieving process?”
MCDONOUGH: So long as we can achieve support of American people.
NOAH SHACHTMAN (Wired), SPENCER ACKERMAN (Washington Independent), FAIZ SHAKIR (Think Progress), ALEX THURSTON (The Seminal), ILAN GOLDENBERG (National Security Network), BRANDON FRIEDMAN (Vet Voice), DAVID AXE (War is Boring), and LAURA ROSEN (Foreign Policy) also got in questions.
See my New Atlanticist writeup, Afghanistan-Pakistan Plan Conference Call, for my notes on their questions as well as a quick take on the plan itself.
Of course, Dave Schuler has previously given his thoughts, which I endorse, as well as his speculation on what the plan would say, which proved prescient.
Good work, J-Dawg! You’re set to become the next Helen Thomas!
Good questions, though. From the guy’s answers you would think he was a holdover from Bush. Those are pretty lame answers, in my opinion.
Herein lies the key distinction between this administration and the last:
Bush: “We are committed to stay there until the situation on the ground warrants that we can pull out.”
Obama: “We are committed to stay there until the President’s approval ratings drop below 50%.”
Now which option do you think our friends, neighbors and allies have more respect for?
“friends….and enemies,” I should add.