Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has predicted a rise in violence in Afghanistan this year that would topple 2010 as the deadliest year for US-led forces since the 2001 invasion.
Press TV interviewed investigative journalist Gareth Porter regarding the US occupation and the how the White House might demand a negotiation which would be against the interests of the military.
Press TV: We are being joined by investigative journalist Gareth Porter all the way from Washington. Many thanks for joining us here on Press TV, sir.
Now Mullen states that the enemy is losing the war but the UN map show that Kandahar and Helmand are still considered very high risks and the situation has grown worse in the North and in the East of the country. What enemy does Mullen speak of when facts on the ground speak for themselves?
Porter: Well you know what Admiral Mullen is doing here is using rhetoric for political purposes. When he says the enemy is losing, he simply means in fact that we have made some gains in Kandahar and therefore we are going to brag about them.
If you read further into his statements, what he is actually saying is that the enemy, the Taliban, will be back again next spring and they will be back in force and the situation will actually get worse before it gets better. So he is really not saying that the Taliban are losing in any meaningful sense. It's just a bit of rhetoric which is actually contradicted by his own statements later on in the statement that he's making.
Press TV: According to the Admiral, and exact plan for the drawdown has not been decided upon, with July looking pretty close now. How do you assess this obscureness regarding something that is surely going to have a effect on this war?
Porter: Well, we have a record here from Iraq which (we can use) to base some analysis of what is really going on behind the curtain as it were in relation to this question of a drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan.
We know that in the case of Iraq, General P. was pushing for putting off the date on which the United States started to withdrawal troops to minimize the number of troops withdrawn.
There is very little doubt in my mind that that is exactly what is going on in the case of Afghanistan. The military leadership wants to put off withdrawal and minimize withdrawal to the greatest extent possible. This is an automatic response by the military. They want to keep troops for as long as possible with the greatest number possible in Afghanistan regardless of what they might say publicly about progress because that's exactly what they did in Iraq.
We know that the White House needs politically to bring out a substantial number of troops to suggest to the Democratic Party base and the anti-war base of the Democratic Party that this war is not going to go on forever.
So there is an absolute contradiction here between the interest of the military and the interest of the White House. That's why I think he's being obscure because it has not been worked out. There is pulling and tugging on this issue which will continue certainly for more months before the final decision is made.
Press TV: Mullen stressed that ultimately a political process will have to be supported that includes Taliban members. How does that resonate with the way things are being handled militarily on the ground?
Porter: The military has to acknowledge that there will be a political settlement. They have been acknowledging that all along. This is not new by any means. The question really is whether they are prepared to support a political settlement anytime in the foreseeable future before the military has been able to establish clearly any claim to be successful in Afghanistan.
I think the answer to that question is clearly, “No they are not”. Again this is an issue in which there is enormous tension between the White House on one hand and the military on the other. The White House certainly knows that the only way the United States is going to be able to get out of this war is to negotiate a settlement.
Politically what the military wants which is for this war to go on indefinitely. It's simply not politically feasible for any sitting President. Therefore, the White House logically is going to be thinking much more seriously about starting a negotiation process much earlier than the military would like.
So again I think that it's inevitable that there will be continuing tensions over that issue. I don't know how it's going to turn out because the White House has proven to be very responsive to the demands of the military. It may well be in the end the President will break down and concede for another year or two to the military on this issue.
Press TV: We will have to leave it there. That was Investigative Journalist, Gareth Porter speaking to us from Washington. Many thanks indeed for your insights here on Press TV.