Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Too Good to Be True

President Obama already ordered over 20,000 more American troops to Afghanistan, but now professes to want to settle on a strategy before sending more--if we even send more (or keep what we have there):

The top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has warned Obama that without additional US troops the NATO-led mission will face defeat at the hands of Islamist insurgents.

But skeptics in Congress and inside the administration are searching for alternatives to NATO's costly counter-insurgency campaign, saying the goal of countering Al-Qaeda militants might be achieved with a less ambitious approach.

"There are a number of what might be called 'middle way' proposals that are circulating around," Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told AFP.

While I'm all on board with settling on an objective for the war (and quickly please, the president is taking way too long to figure out why he thinks Afghanistan is the good war), this all has an ugly feel of looking for an exit strategy rather than looking for victory.

The good war is no longer good enough, it seems, when that formulation is no longer useful for opposing the "bad" Iraq war.

And middle ways for Afghanistan will just be a means to avoid losing too quickly to be punished by the voters in 2010 or 2012, I'm afraid.

We can't afford to lose in Afghanistan. We need to keep Afghanistan from being a haven for terrorists who would attack us and we need to prevent Afghanistan from being a haven for terrorists who would undermine Pakistan.

Are we really going to go from a strategy that attempts to fight the cross-border Taliban threat to one where we just try drive-by Predator strikes to control jihadis in both countries?