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Afghanistan Strategic Review: “We Are Making Progress”…..toward?

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The strategic review of the Afghanistan war is in.  This time around the review attracted considerably fewer protests than the strategic review of the Iraq surge.  I could be coy and feign ignorance, or I could simply state the truth that many of those who protested GEN Petraeus at the Iraq review did so because they hated President George W. Bush.  Now that they have a President they like, they are far less inclined to protest.  In short, they are blazing hypocrites.  However, I digress.

A summary of the review can be found at the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/opinion/17fri1.html?src=twrhp.  Anderson Cooper also had a segment on the review last night, which featured a montage of President Obama’s remarks on Afghanistan:

As usual, the politicians and pundits alike are focusing on whether we are winning or not.  The larger and more important question is whether we need to win at all.  Going back to my previous post, it doesn’t do you a whole lot of good to “win” when you are bidding $5.50 for a one dollar bill.

In the President’s defense, he did address this question in his December 2009 speech at West Point where he announced the 30,000 troop surge.  “As Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.”  I’m heartened by the fact that he is using the proper test for not only escalating, but continuing the Afghanistan war at all.  What is less clear is if he was or is correct about our vital national interests in Afghanistan.  I’ve yet to hear this argument clearly articulated.  There is a direct relationship between our national interests and desired strategic end state, which also explains why officials have difficulty articulating end state as well.

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