CIA Director Leon Panetta: “We’re looking at 50 to 100 al Qaeda in Afghanistan”

Monday, June 28, 2010

CIA Director Leon Panetta, appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, was asked by Jake Tapper to estimate the number of al Qaeda terrorists remaining in Afghanistan. Panetta said the following:

“I think the estimate on the number of al Qaeda is actually relatively small. At most, we’re looking at 50 to 100, maybe less. It’s in that vicinity.”

If Panetta’s estimate is correct and I assume it is, since as CIA Director, he has access to intelligence the rest of us do not have, this mean the U.S. is maintaining 980 troops per every single al Qaeda member. The U.S. currently has 98,000 combat troops in Afghanistan.

If the mighty U.S. military using 98,000 combat troops can’t win a war against 100 or fewer terrorists, then we need to accept the fact we will never win in Afghanistan. It’s time to reassess the mission and redeploy the troops home.

Meanwhile, a recent NEWSWEEK poll shows 53 percent disapprove of how President Obama is managing the war in Afghanistan. A sharp reversal from February when 55 percent supported Obama on Afghanistan and just 27 percent did not. Put another way, the percentage of Americans who disapprove of Obama’s Afghan policy has nearly doubled in just four months.

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17 Responses to CIA Director Leon Panetta: “We’re looking at 50 to 100 al Qaeda in Afghanistan”

  1. Joe in Colorado says:

    Afghanistan has become Obama’s Vietnam. Too bad the president is too naive to see it. When the voters send him packing in 2012, Afghanistan will be cited as one of the many reasons the American voters say enough is enough.

  2. Woodcliffe says:

    With the discovery of $1 trillion dollars of minerals in Afghanistan, don’t expect the troops to leave by Aug. 2011.

    In fact, my guess is, US troops will be milling around Afghanistan 10 years from now. Maybe longer.

    The US isn’t about to go quietly into the sun and take its place behind Britain and Russia. Two other large countries who had their butts handed to them by the Afghans.

  3. feminazi says:

    President Obama was asked about U.S. troops withdrawal from Afghanistan while in Toronto and he pretty much danced around a date. This, despite his campaign promise to get the troops out by August 2011. I think Woodcliffe is 100% correct. If Obama fails to deliver on this pledge, Obama will take his historic place along side Lyndon Johnson as a one term president. The expense of this war is destroying the U.S. and for what? The glory of Empire?

  4. Jolly Roger says:

    Don’t bet on the CIA being correct. Ever. It’s harder to figure out where they HAVE been correct than it is where they haven’t.

  5. Brigadoon says:

    I’ll tell you what I will bet on. Leon Panetta will never make another appearance on the Sunday political blab circuit without carefully rehearsed talking points broadcasting in his ear. This statement not only calls into question the entire war but, makes President Obama look like a clown.

  6. Kate Novotny says:

    Let’s see now. The Afghanistan war:

    * Nine years
    * $280 billion dollars
    * U.S. fatalities 1,139
    * 98,000 troops can’t defeat 100 al Qaeda
    * “We’re fucking losing this thing.” –Staff Sergeant Kennith Hicks

    Yep, sounds like America has everything under control.

  7. VicoDANIEL says:

    I think everyone is missing the point.

    Leon Panetta is a card carrying Clintonista and polls show the American people are growing more and more dissatisfied with President Obama each day.

    There is quite a lot of “chatter” that Hillary Clinton, if Obama’s horrible poll numbers get even worse, will challenge him in 2012. She’s relatively young and still wildly ambitious.

    Panetta’s remarks just further jab the sword into Obama’s heart.

  8. Enough with liberals constantly saying that Obama is going to lose in 12. Trust me, he won’t. I have had to reassure way too many people on this. Glad to hear the main point of the Panetta interview highlighted. We are not there to fight terrorism (the only reason 9/11 happened was because of a far too weak visa system) but instead we are there because of Wilsonian delusions. I have to believe that Obama is not moving agressivesly on withdrawl because he wants to be in a better position in 12 but he misjudges the American apathy with this war, including an almost silent anti-war movement too drawn with Obama worship to hold him to account.

  9. joost says:

    I thought the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis? How did it come to be accepted dogma that Afghanistan was involved in their training? I guess my computer was on the fritz during the explanation. Anyway, the US could target these 50 to 100 Al Qaeda with aerial drones and not risk American lives. But, I guess this would be too easy and far less dramatic.

  10. Rachel says:

    We spend more money on the military and defense than all the nations of the world combined. This addiction to the military will lead to our economic downfall. Nevermind radical Islam, it’s the addiction to the military and our borrowing to pay for it that will destroyed us.

  11. Big Hank says:

    When you folks figure out why the U.S. has 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, please let me know.

    From my perch, the reasons 9 years ago no longer apply. It’s perfectly OK to change course when the terms and conditions no longer apply. But, admitting this isn’t in our national character, so we lumber on even when it makes no sense.

  12. Pechanga says:

    Big Hank — We’re a nation perpetually at war.

    Throughout history, all great nations, once they start to slide, their last grasp is to wage war. It’s the last gasp of a dying elephant.

  13. DMason says:

    I agree with Joost. If the number of bad guys is really a hundred or less, just use drones and don’t risk the lives of young, American men and women. But I’m perplexed. Why can’t US 98,000 troops get at 100 al Qaeda soldiers? I guess we’re lucky this isn’t WWII and we’re trying to push back German fascism or we would surely fail.

  14. Eric Equality Kuntz says:

    Big Hank,

    Haven’t you heard? We’re fighting over there so we don’t have to fight them here!

    And unfortunately, Obama’s drank the neocon koolaid.

  15. Randy Arroyo says:

    I would like to think my country and the men and women we elect to run it have sufficient common sense to recognize it’s time to pronounce the war effort over and done. But as long as the US Treasury can sell debt to China and Japan, I am not hopeful we will leave Afghanistan anytime soon.

  16. Jolly Roger says:

    We’re heading for a Soviet end. Believe it. If this country survives 5 more years intact, it will be stunning.

  17. bradfrmphnx says:

    Bring the troops home. If they aren’t home by elections, Obama goes down. This has always been my number one objection to his Presidency. He promised to deliver on three things. Getting us out of the wars, and getting rid of DADT/DOMA. So far…0/3.

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