That is why it is not enough for us to simply dispatch more troops. If we are going to make a renewed commitment in Afghanistan, we have to visibly display to the Afghan people that we expect a different kind of governance from Karzai, or whoever rules, and refuse to proceed without it. It doesn’t have to be Switzerland, but it does have to be good enough — that is, a government Afghans are willing to live under. Without that, more troops will only delay a defeat.
I am not sure Washington fully understands just how much the Taliban-led insurgency is increasingly an insurrection against the behavior of the Karzai government — not against the religion or civilization of its international partners. And too many Afghan people now blame us for installing and maintaining this government.
Friedman proposes a new way of thinking about the path to success in Afghanistan, making a stable and legitimate state the top priority. If this becomes conventional wisdom -- and it appears to be gaining traction -- Friedman's
column could mark the beginning of a new way of thinking about the war. Notably, Mother Jones's Kevin Drum, a prominent voice
among left-wing liberals who see Afghanistan as "no-win," admitted that the column laid out a persuasive potential path to victory. "If Obama and McChrystal can come up with a truly plausible plan for
stabilizing Afghanistan, I think I could gulp hard and support it," Drum wrote.