Whopper of the Week: Gen. Richard Myers
The Joint Chiefs chairman claims not to know that Hamid Karzai wants a bigger international peacekeeping force.
"In the conversations that I've been around or that I've had personally with Chairman Karzai, his number-one priority has been training the Afghan national army. I've never heard him say—or any of his folks ever say—that a priority was to expand the [International Security Assistance Force]. Now I may have missed it somewhere in the fine print, and it's possible. But I've just never heard that requirement."
—Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an April 17 Pentagon news briefing.
"Afghanistan's interim leader asked the United Nations on Wednesday to expand the international force protecting his fledgling government, saying it would signal a global commitment to a country brutalized by 23 years of war and neglect. …
" 'The extension of the presence of multinational forces in Kabul and expanding their presence to other major cities will signal the ongoing commitment of the international community to peace and security in Afghanistan,' he said."
—"Afghan Leader Asks U.N. To Expand Force," by Edith M. Lederer of the Associated Press, Jan. 30.
"As new factional fighting threatened stability in Afghanistan, the country's interim leader Hamid Karzai told Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday that Afghans want the British-led security force to expand into towns and cities beyond Kabul. …
" 'The Afghan people really are asking for this force as a symbol of the commitment of the international community,' he said at a news conference with Blair. 'All the delegations that have come to see us from the provinces in Kabul have asked for the increased presence of the security force and have also asked that the force go to the areas where they may be needed.' "
—"Karzai Asks Blair for Broader Force," by Beth Gardiner of the Associated Press, Jan. 31.
"Hamid Karzai, the leader of the interim government, has also appealed for an expansion of the international force.
"State Department officials and British Foreign Office officials have said that Mr. Karzai has made a strong case for an expanded force. Richard N. Haass, the State Department's director of policy planning, said at the World Economic Forum that a force as large of 25,000 might be needed.
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.