Although critics say the strategy is faltering, Florida Senator Bill Nelson says he's pleased by the latest developements in Afghanistan

Nelson was also asked at his press conference this morning in Tampa about a protest some Latino groups and the ACLU are planning tonight in front of Tropicana Field about the controversial new illegal immigration law in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks take on the Tampa Bay Rays.  When asked about that, Nelson seemed to discourage the idea of a ballpark being a place for social dissent.

"Well, can't we go in and enjoy the national pastime without having to inject politics in it?" he asked  reporters in front of the Federal Building, that houses his local district office.  He then went on to say that that the government must "control the borders."  He said the system needs to be fixed, but didn't address how exactly, not that he could in a short soundbite form.

He also spoke of the U.S. Senate rejecting extending unemployment benefits. "Ain't it interesting?" he mused.  "Couldn't you  have a little bit of compassion " to give people "a little more compensation for a few more weeks?" he said, clearly frustrated by the now eight-week impasse by Senate Republicans, who say that there isn't money in the federal budget to pay for the proposal, saying it will only add to the federal deficit.  The vote last night was 57 to 41, falling three short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

In announcing that General David Petraeus would be replacing General Stanley McChrystal in leading the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, President Obama stressed that the strategy would not be changing.

That concerns critics of the war.  As Newsweek magazine's Michael Hirsch writes today, "Obama's biggest problem now is a rising tide of doubt, not only within McChrystal's obviously stressed-out team but throughout the military and national-security apparatus, that there is any real momentum or that the policy in Afghanistan is working."

But when CL asked Florida Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson if he was concerned about the conflict, he instead triumphed the killing of (another) #3 guy for al-Qaeda recently taken down in battle.

"I just spoke with General Petraeus..he is very optimistic.  He points out that this is a change of personnel, that it's not a change in policy.  And the policy is to try to give some stability to Afghanistan so that the government can then take over and provide for their own security.  Now the problem is:  General Petraeus, who was so successful in Iraq, well, Iraq is not Afghanistan.  Afghanistan for centuries has never been governed.  And that's the challenge that we face.  But, remember we've been at this for ten years.  We had no choice to get in because after we left Afghanistan after Charlie Wilson's war, that created the vacuum that was filled by al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden from which they could do damage to us."

Let me give you some other good news.  It was reported in the papers last week that we got the number three guy in al-Queda (That was Mustafa Abu al-Yazid.  Obama administration officials said he was the overall commander for al Queda in Afghanistan and Pakistan ).  He was the chief operation officer....that was a big, big victory for America.  Now number one and two, Osama, being number one , they're keeping them stashed in a cave in Pakistan, but the noose is tightening, and we're going to find him (The New York Times reported that The C.I.A. has previously killed many of Yazid’s predecessors in Al Qaeda’s No. 3 slot).

CL:  The deadline for removing many of our troops is July of 2011.  Do you really think that will still happen?

Nelson:  That is the plan, and according to General Petraeus in our discussion two days ago, that's the timetable he's working on.

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