Keep those poppy fields safe! (ISAFMedia photo April 9, 2011)

Sounding less like a military leader than a long-suffering Cubs fan, Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen made remarks in Afghanistan Tuesday as he prepared for meetings in Pakistan on Wednesday and Thursday. Remarkably, Mullen tried to tell us in a news release at the Joint Chiefs web site that the first eight and a half years of fighting in Afghanistan don’t really count:

Although the United States has been in Afghanistan for 10 years, the chairman said, only over the last 18 months has the effort been resourced correctly.

Those first eight and a half years don’t count because we didn’t resource the effort correctly. Kind of like when the Cubs blow their draft or trade away talent on washed-up big names.  And we even get the Cubs’ yearly refrain of “Wait until next year”:

“The Taliban had a really tough year last year, and will have a tougher one this year,” he said. “I think we’ll know a lot more as to where this all stands … at the end of this fighting season.” The fighting season typically runs from spring through the end of September or early October, when colder weather closes in.

Does Mullen even understand how many lives and how many resources are being wasted in this ridiculous losing effort?

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper sees a central part of Mullen’s discussions in Pakistan to be on the efforts to disrupt the Haqqani Network despite its ties to ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence service):

The US Embassy says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will spend Wednesday and Thursday meeting with Pakistani leaders.

Admiral Mike Mullen’s trip follows a visit to Afghanistan a day earlier in which he told reporters he would raise ongoing concerns with Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff website.

Mullen praised cooperation between US and Pakistani troops in working jointly to combat the militant Haqqani network who target NATO forces in the Afghan east, but acknowledged “strain” caused by the insurgents’ ties with ISI.

Yup, if we can sign the free agent ISI, this could be the year!  If only the stakes were merely bragging rights over the World Series instead of widespread death and destruction…