Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cover for Carrier Move Not Holding Up

Many moves are occurring as President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert ready to denude and destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Some have been “justified” only to find out later the reason is pure bunk. Take the move of the aircraft carrier Dwight Eisenhower from the Persian Gulf to Somalia, halfway to the Mediterranean. The official reason given had something to do with decreased attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The winter lull in fighting in Afghanistan meant the Eisenhower and its four squadrons of F/A-18 ground attack jets could fight a different war. Taliban attacks have dropped by half between August and December - from 913 to 449 - and U.S. and coalition warplanes have made drastic cutbacks in bombing, according to coalition military data.

Today’s AP news showed this to be false.

Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said in an interview that Taliban attacks surged by 200 percent in December, and a U.S. military intelligence officer said that since the peace deal went into effect Sept. 5 the number of attacks in the border area has grown by 300 percent. He predicted, "It's going to be a violent spring." Eikenberry said he sees no prospect of reducing the U.S. troop presence during 2007 and he held out the possibility of adding some troops.

So the Bush team’s answer in the face of growing attacks and a major spring offensive is to take the carrier providing air support to Afghanistan and pull it away?

Something must be of higher priority. Might it be protecting Israel’s western flank as ample forces will be in Kuwait, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq to cover Iran’s retaliatory impulse post attack on its nuclear enrichment facilities?

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