Thursday, November 12, 2009

That other war...

There's some refreshing news about Afghanistan hashed out at Juan Cole's site:
AP is reporting that President Barack Obama is declining to be rushed into committing to the Afghanistan War as an open-ended project, and wants a timetable for turning security duties over to the Afghanistan National Army.

AP says that the key intervention here came from US ambassador in Kabul, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, who warned that the government of Hamid Karzai is not a reliable partner.

While this may be frustrating to Gen. McChrystal, like Cole, I find this a refreshing change of pace. Eikenberry is being brought in because of his expertise in the region and globally. There's an interview with Cole at the link that goes a bit deeper, but I just want to say that I really think that this is our best gameplan in this situation. Going into another endless theater of combat doesn't help us or Afghanistan or the region or anybody for that matter. The better plan is to ensure that any commitment we make is done with caution and reasonable expectation. It would be easy(and it's happening already) to blast the President for taking his time on this, but I disagree with those opinions. Yes, there are times when strong force is the proven answer, in a conflict that is as complicated and difficult as this one, we're best trying to limit our involvement to what is absolutely necessary.

I also want to stress in terms of all of our international conflicts, that winning isn't always so simple as beating the bad guys. Our circumstance in Iraq is proof that if you just try to chase the bunny you're going to wind up digging tunnels forever. Victory means peace. Any other solution is unacceptable. Occupation is not a means toward peace. If Viet Nam AND Iraq haven't proven that, I don't think we need another example to make the point.

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