1. Gen. Jim Jones and Amb. Susan Rice were brought out to try and contain the growing sense that the flag officers in charge of fighting in Afghanistan have coalesced around a strategy that President Obama does not yet endorse. Jones said that the decision was "much more complex" than just "adding 'X' number of troops.
"The key in Afghanistan, as we said back in March, is to have a triad of things happen simultaneously. Security is obviously one reason, one important thing to take care of, but the other two are economic development and good governance in the rule of law and on that score, we have a lot more work to do and a Karzai government is going to have to pitch in and do much better than they have. But underlying that is, of course, the effort to build up the Afghan national security force, the police, and the army and that will be an important part of whatever we decide to do."
2. Jones also suggested that pulling troops out of Afghanistan wasn't an option, and said that Afghanistan was not in danger of imminently falling to the Taliban. On Face the Nation: ""Just like water running down hill. They're going to come back in. They had a safe haven there at one time. There's no reason to believe they wouldn't have a safe haven again. That's the purpose of this entire mission, to quell the al Qaeda and to make sure that the Taliban is not there to invite them back."
Rice, on Meet the Press, addressed the question of whether POTUS still saw Afghanistan as a war of necessity, as he said it was last August. The objective, she said, "was to prevent Al Qaeda from being able to launch attacks on the United States."
3. On Face the Nation, Gen. Anthony Zinni (ret) vented his frustration at the administration: "I don't understand why we are questioning the judgment of commander in Afghanistan." Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Armed Services Committee in the Senate, pointed the ratio of stood up NATO troops to Afghan troops. ""I would not commit to more combat troops at this time. There's a lot of other things that need to be done to show resolve. What we need a surge of is Afghan troops."
4. Alan Greenspan is cautious about a second stimulus package for two reasons: "One, only 40 percent of the first stimulus has been in place. And there is a considerable debate going on in the economics profession about how effective this stimulus package is...Mainly because of the fact that as broad as it is and as effective as it will turn out to be, it still has got 60 percent left to go. So in my judgment it's far better to wait and see how this momentum that has already begun to develop in the economy carries forward."
5. On This Week, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. John Cornyn agreed on what a semi-second-stimulus might look like: they'd extend unemployment benefits and COBRA, and extend the housing tax credit (and perhaps expand it beyond $8,000 for first time purchasers.)
Quick takes: Jones said Obama will take his time on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. "Not years," he said, but "teed up appropriately."
Sen. Barbara Boxer confirmed that the Senate Ethics Committee is investigating Sen. John Ensign's shenanigans.
GOP strategist Mike Murphy doesn't much care for the "radio guys" in his party.
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