Blitzing the General

Foreign policy blogging has coalesced today around Afghanistan. The most commentary is being generated by the ever-media-savvy General David Petraeus. Salon.com’s Justin Elliot and the Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper speculate—albeit from different viewpoints—about whether the Afghanistan commander is asking President Obama to scrap the withdrawal timeline he mentioned back in December. (Guess which one is blaming Petraeus for breaking a promise and which is praising him for doing the right thing?) Marc Ambinder says Petraeus’s “media blitz” has another objective: to convince the American public that the current strategy is working (but he still might need more time and troops—which Ambinder reports some White House officials fear). To which Paul Pillar might respond: Why are we even there? And Justin Logan skeptically wonders whether “the influence of military officers has grown beyond its healthy limits.” Also blogging about Afghanistan (sans Petraeus), Noah Shachtman at Danger Room and Jeff Stein of SpyTalk discuss intelligence reports that Iran is supplying the Taliban with shoulder-fired missiles. And Spencer Ackerman continues his series of dispatches from the front lines.