Link on Afghanistan and surge from a military guy (named McKiernan, not McClellan - my bad): http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/10/01/mideast/military.php Excerpt (I think this bolsters Palin's take more so than Biden's):
The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday that he needed more troops and other aid "as quickly as possible" in a counterinsurgency battle that could get worse before it gets better.Mort K: Major attention was focused on Palin - could she perform? She did (damn straight, Morty!) Forceful, knowledgeable, didn't make a single mistake. Nothing embarrassing. Biden did what you expect him to do. She had the better of it.
The commander, General David McKiernan, said it would take more than adding troops to stabilize Afghanistan, including efforts to strengthen the government, improve the economy and build its military and police forces.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters, McKiernan, the head of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said there had been a significant increase in foreign fighters coming in from neighboring Pakistan this year, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Saudis and Europeans.
And he said he needed the more than 10,000 additional forces he has requested, in part, to increase his military campaigns in the south and east, where violence has escalated.
"The additional military capabilities that have been asked for are needed as quickly as possible," he said, adding that he was hoping to get units that would be able to both fight the insurgents and serve as trainers for the Afghan National Army and the police.
Kristol: I am biased. She hadn't done well with Couric interview, so I was nervous. She did very well. Conservatives (via e-mail) are extremely happy. If she had done badly, it was set point. Instead, she won the set and the campaign lives to see another day.
Powers: Admires the way that she asserted herself. Biden did no harm. Seemed subdued. Didn't take the bait too much.
Hume: Enthusiasm that Palin had brought out that McC hadn't - did she revive it?
Barnes: Probably so. Smart, knowledgeable, incredibly self-confident, stood toe-to-toe with a 35 year Senate veteran. Says when she asked to go back to Afghanistan, she won the debate - showed confidence.
Powers - Somewhat contrarian view: mini-stump speeches. Liked the "only been doing this 5 weeks" line.
Hume - Palin's speech: informal, midwestern, strikingly different from the kind of talk we hear in DC. We insiders trade in fluidity, verbal dexterity - is this contrast helpful?
Mort - It helps. I don't think she is ready to be President on Day 1 as Biden is, BUT she is not going to have to be pres right away. Does she connect to average people? Yes. Can she learn? Yes.
Barnes - She is chirpy and in a good mood.
Hume - She is more physically attractive.