Congress Calls For Top Afghanistan Diplomat and General to Testify

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Remember last September’s false promise that with the testimony before Congress of David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the highest-ranking U.S. general and diplomat in Iraq, some major change in the Iraq War was imminent? Nothing happened, of course, other than some very deft rhetorical deflection (evidence of Petraeus’ political talents?) and calls for more time for the “surge” to work. (Some, including John McCain, now argue that it has, others that it hasn’t.) If Joe Biden and Carl Levin, the respective chairmen of the Senate foreign relations and armed services committees, get their way, we’ll be treated to yet another media spectacle in coming weeks, this time focusing on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

More after the jump…

Yesterday, the Senators fired off letters to Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates, requesting that they authorize U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood and NATO International Security Assistance Force commander, General Dan McNeil, to testify before their combined committees. The impetus for the request, say the Senators, is their concern that “the United States and the international community lack a strategy for success in Afghanistan.” The letters read:

The conflict in Afghanistan must also be a priority. It is essential that Congress hear from the commanding general and U.S. ambassador about the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, based on both first-hand observations and the recent testimony of military experts, the intelligence community, State Department officials, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Among our concerns are that six years after the defeat of the Taliban, an anti-government insurgency is re-asserting itself in many previously-peaceful provinces, al Qaeda is regenerating along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, poppy production remains at record levels, international development and reconstruction efforts lack both coordination and resources, shortfalls continue in troops and equipment for NATO’s Afghanistan mission, and many of the Afghan people are at risk of losing faith in the ability of their government to deliver a better future.

Biden and Levin have asked that the testimony be given “no later than April 18, 2008.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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