Image by The U.S. Army via FlickrThe United States has been in Afghanistan since the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001. As we enter our 10th year of strategic, security and whatever partnership with Bank of Afghanistan R Us, it looks like the official team shake up is now slowly unfolding. The new Af/Pak envoy recently installed, and now new reports that Ambassador Ryan Crocker will come out of retirement and is slated to return to the US Embassy Kabul. Official announcement not made yet, but you know what DC is like …. worse than a leaky cauldron…
Both AP and Reuters are reporting that the Obama Administration will soon nominate Ambassador Crocker to succeed Ambassador Eikenberry in Afghanistan.
The National Journal also has the following:
The Obama administration is preparing to nominate Ryan Crocker to be the next U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, putting one of the nation’s most experienced diplomats in charge of the civilian side of the flagging U.S.-led war effort there, a White House official confirmed.
The move, which could be announced this week, would reunite Crocker with Gen. David Petraeus, the diplomat’s partner in Iraq during the pivotal years where the two men helped bring the country back from the brink of civil war. Petraeus, who describes Crocker as the most capable diplomat he’s ever worked with, has been privately pushing the White House to make the appointment while urging Crocker to come out of retirement to accept it.
I don’t know if I should call this leak great timing or a coincidence. But just a day ago, a new poll indicates that a record 49 percent of Americans now disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan, up 8 points since January. And those who disapprove “strongly” outnumber strong approvers by nearly a 2-1 margin.
According to ABC News this change follows an ABC/Post poll last month in which a new low, 31 percent, said the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting. Sixty-four percent said it is not worth fighting, with 49 percent feeling that way “strongly,” both record highs in ABC/Post polls.
Of course, if the Senate can’t get it together quickly in the nomination of Ambassador Crocker after it’s announced (no reason why it can’t, but stranger things have happened there), and Petreaus gets out of Afghanistan this summer, then it’ll be hard to reunite the dream team.