Euphemistically Speaking

There was a smattering of foreign policy blogging Friday and through the weekend. Kori Schake (Shadow Government) and guest posters at The Best Defense and The Daily Dish are exasperated by what they feel is the misconception that all combat troops have been withdrawn from Iraq. Retired Col. Andrew Berdy, subbing for Tom Ricks, calls it “fiction pure and simple.” Schake says the administration should reconsider putting the State Department in the lead and be open to negotiating a longer stay for U.S. soldiers.

Moving to that other conflict where troops are frequently engaging in combat, The Corner laments attempts to reach a settlement with Taliban fighters. Whatever happened to “we don’t negotiate with terrorists?” Well, Andy McCarthy points out, the Taliban has not been formally designated as a terrorist organization so it’s all good (technically speaking). At Contentions, Peter Wehner supports General Petraeus’s strategy, calling him “one of the greatest military commanders” in U.S. history. From inside Afghanistan (and Danger Room) Spencer Ackerman details the latest strategy to “choke” off insurgent supply lines, which he says is exactly the same idea he heard two years ago and calls “an ambitious agenda."

The Pakistan floods also garnered some blogging attention. Imtiaz Gul, who heads a think tank in Islamabad, reports that the “super flood” is the worst in 120 years, with homeless tent communities stretching endlessly and the stench of dead animals and soaked rugs filling the air. ABC News correspondent Jim Sciutto’s report at Entanglements is much the same, repeating that the United States has been “far more generous” than the rest of the international community, but the Taliban and other extremist groups have already stepped in to help and ultimate recovery depends on the shaky Pakistani government. Also on the TNR blog, author Larry Goodson hopes that the U.S. response will be an opportunity “to step up without delay and simply lead.” Fortunately, he says, America already has a supply network in Pakistan and “massive resources” next door in Afghanistan. That is quite a different reaction than Stephen Walt had a few days earlier, when he wrote that the U.S. commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan are tying up valuable resources that could have been offered to the Pakistanis. But everyone seems to agree regardless that America should be at the forefront of the relief effort.