Tuesday, May. 26 2009 @ 6:49AM
Sounding a tone that the previous administration never would have dared, Defense Secretary Robert Gates admits that the Taliban have the upper hand in Afghanistan and says public support for the war will evaporate in less than a year unless that "momentum" is changed.
Not one word about a "war on terror" and nothing about "staying the course" from Gates — the Wall Street Journal story this morning by Yochi J. Dreazen and August Cole about their interview with Gates shows a SecDef sounding shockingly candid:
"People are willing to stay in the fight, I believe, if they think we're making headway," he said. "If they think we're stalemated and having our young men and women get killed, then patience is going to run out pretty fast."
The WSJ reporters sound their own note of realism by writing that the Taliban "are inflicting heavy U.S. casualties and hold de facto control of swaths of the country."
Meanwhile, the meter's running. The Nation points out (in a tiresomely tendentious piece about the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars) that overall U.S. military funding will consume a fifth of all mandatory and discretionary spending and is "the proverbial $704 billion gorilla in President Obama's $3.4 trillion budget."
WABC notes that Congressman Anthony Weiner is talking about how New York City's cops, firefighters, and other municipal workers who have been sent to the two war zones have missed 800,000 days of work since 2001, costing the city's taxpayers more than $148 million to cover their military leave. He wants the federal government to pick up that tab. (Good luck with that.)
For cost-of-war figures and factoids, check out the National Priorities Projects calculations.