Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Anonymous Source Watch: Washington Post (Monday, September 7)

For Obama, A Pivotal Moment in Afghanistan (A1)
By Karen DeYoung

Anonymous Quote #1
Asked whether the administration would consider reversing its strategy in the direction of withdrawal, a senior official said: “The president’s view is that there are a lot of good ideas out there and we should hear them all. When you come down to the question of governance, we’ve seen what happens when one viewpoint is not particularly debated or challenged or reviewed or measured.”

“I don’t anticipate that the briefing books for the principals on these debates over the next weeks and months will be filled with submissions from opinion columnists,” the senior official said. “I do anticipate they will be filled with vigorous discussions … of how successful we’ve been to date.”

Anonymous Quote #2
But this official and others, who agreed to speak about the upcoming national security discussions on the condition of anonymity, gave no indication that withdrawal would be seriously considered. “There’s not a lot of rethinking that the strategy we have pretty much worked on to go forward with needs some drastic or dramatic revision,” a second official said.

“We can’t deny that they’ve had their successes,” the second official said of the Taliban. But McChrstal’s recommendations are “all in the scope of how do you refine your tactics, not your strategy.”

Anonymous Quote #3
Although that discussion is ongoing in some military and administration circles, a senior defense official said, there is widespread recognition that falling back to pure counterterrorism “just can’t be done” because of the stakes involved and the investment already made.

U.S. Tried to Soften Treaty on Detainees (A3)
By R. Jeffrey Smith

Anonymous Quote #1
A senior Bush administration policymaker confirmed in an interview last week, however, that the existence of the CIA prisons and the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the Defense Department has held hundreds of suspected terrorists without initially disclosing their names, was "a complicating factor" in U.S. deliberations on the treaty.

"Our negotiators were certainly aware that there was this program where people were being held, and were not in touch with people, and they had to be careful to ensure that there was room" for that program to continue, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the deliberations. He added that the treaty's proposed definition of "enforced disappearances" was only one of several problems Washington had with the draft.

"As with a number of previous human rights treaties, the language was just so broad that . . . we were not going to be able to sign," he said.

Anonymous Quote #2
The senior Bush administration official noted, however, that Washington's ability to gain concessions from others was undermined by public revelation of the CIA prisons in 2005. "I doubt that other countries would have been pushing quite so hard on this particular convention at this time were they not trying to cause problems for the administration," he said.

The context, he said, enabled "both the Europeans and the Latins" to "join forces" in arguing against the U.S. proposals.

Afghan Reaction to Strike Muted (A4)
By Pamela Constable

Anonymous Quote #1
"There has been a marked difference in the way the U.S. military dealt with this incident. Instead of arguing about the number of casualties, as has happened often in the past, they recognized the Afghan perception and addressed it," said a senior U.N. official here. "This is very heartening, and it bodes well for the coming months as this conflict inevitably continues."

Anonymous Quote #2
"One day you are building a bridge and the next day you call in an airstrike that kills civilians. What kind of message does that send?" said the U.N. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "It may turn out there is a lot more work to be done to make sure NATO follows its own rules."

Iranian Invites Six Powers to Tehran (A6)
By Thomas Erdbrink

Anonymous Quote #1
A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no official communication has been received, said U.S. officials were "struck at how little new there was in the comments earlier today, particularly in light of the desires of so many Iranians for a new relationship with the rest of the world."

No comments: