October 27, 2009

Afghanistan: Is It Winnable?

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -AUGUST 27 :  An Afghan sta...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I've ben thinking about the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan lately. When Bush initially went in after 9/11, I supported it. Admittedly, my support was based on a desire for revenge and not reason. The idea of going in quick and crushing those who attacked us was appealing, even if it turned out to be completely pointless. I don't mean it was pointless because Bush didn't finish the job but because Al Qaeda simply crossed into Pakistan and waited for us to leave. Had the decision to go in been a bit more deliberate and thoughtful, it might have been possible to get it right. But regardless of the initial U.S. entry, we're back and appear to be bracing to be there for the long haul.

Obama campaigned, at least in part, on the idea that Iraq was the wrong war and that resources there needed to be withdrawn and reallocated to Afghanistan. I agreed with this and am disappointed that he now seems to have little intent on following through with plans to withdraw from Iraq (at least in the near future). But Afghanistan isn't going well, and nobody can be surprised by this.

Now it appears that the U.S. is going to send more troops. It seems to me that success is going to be elusive unless we decide to go into Pakistan with more than just drones. It does not appear that they have been at all cooperative, and it is difficult to imagine that real progress can be made on one side of the border without support from the other side.

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