Tuesday, July 26, 2011

US Mission Afghanistan: Ambassador Crocker returns, assures everyone "There will be no rush for the exits..." and that's okay since our soldiers for 2023 will start kindergarten this fall

On July 25, Ambassador Ryan Crocker was officially sworn in at the U.S. Embassy Kabul as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. He was sworn in by "someone rather more junior than the Secretary of State," by an FSO named Zane (so junior, no last name needed) who "represents the future of America’s Foreign Service" according to the transcript of the ambassador's remarks. 

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Photos from US Embassy Kabul/Flickr

Ambassador Crocker also presented his diplomatic credentials to Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a ceremony at the Presidential Palace on the same day.  He arrived in Afghanistan on July 24.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Photos from US Embassy Kabul/Flickr

by Ambassador Ryan Crocker at Swearing-in Ceremony
July 25, 2011 (excerpts)
We are at a time of transition in Afghanistan.  It is a time for us to step back and for the Afghans to step forward, as they are doing.  There can be no more clearer evidence than in last week’s successful security transition.  This is an indicator of the progress that Afghanistan has achieved in recent years. 

However, I think all of us – Americans, coalition partners, the international community, and the Afghan leadership – know that we must proceed carefully. There will be no rush for the exits.  The way we do this in the months ahead will have consequences far beyond Afghanistan and far into the future. 

Frankly, we left the wrong way in the early 1990’s, and we all know the history of those decisions:  the civil war, the rise of the Taliban, sanctuary for Al Qaida, and 9/11.  So how we proceed as partners in support of Afghanistan is critical.   We have to think this through carefully, we have to consult with the Afghan government, and the coming year will be critical in setting the right glide path.

Those of us in the international community face challenges at home as well.  Our people are tired of military involvements, and the expense of blood and treasure. But my answer to that, again, is to remind those who say we should be done of the incalculable long-term effects and costs of getting it wrong.  We owe nothing less to the next generation of Afghans, Americans, and others not to repeat the mistakes of 20 years ago.

Despite the complexity of the issues, the process of transition over the next few years is not only clear, it is underway.

President Karzai must be having a good day.  Job security assured for many more years to come since there will be "no rush for the exits."  And if the "transition" is timed well, I bet we could make that transition lasts until 2050. Just visiting, of course.

The soldiers who will fight the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere in 2023 and beyond will be entering kindergarten this fall.      

updated @12:01 pm EST

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