Almost nine years after the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan, American and
British pundits are turning increasingly pessimistic about our
prospects for victory there, whatever that victory may mean. On Monday,
the first good news out of Afghanistan in some time--the alleged
discovery of $1 trillion in mineral wealth--was met with widespread skepticism
we look forward to what will surely be a difficult and violent
of fighting, is it time to reevaluate the mission in
- Pessimism Growing in D.C. Policy Circles On
the front page of the Washington Post, Karen DeYoung
and Greg Jaffe announce, "A series of political and military
setbacks in Afghanistan has fed anxiety over the war effort in the past
few weeks, shaking supporters of President Obama's counterinsurgency
strategy and confirming the pessimism of those who had doubts about it
from the start. The concerns, fed largely by unease over military
operations in southern Afghanistan that are progressing slower than
anticipated, spurred lawmakers to schedule last-minute hearings this
week to assess progress on the battlefield and within the Afghan
- This Conflict Has No 'Happy Ending' The U.K.
Telegraph's Mary Riddell compares the
war in Afghanistan to the British struggle in Northern Ireland. Both
have been costly, she says, but only the latter produced something
worthwhile. "Mr Cameron is eager that Britons, of whom around 75 per
cent now want our soldiers out, are persuaded the war is working and
security is being established. The trouble is that neither of these
things is true."
- Taliban Regaining Momentum The
Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran
reports from Marjah, where a recent offensive has failed to rout the
Taliban. "Residents of this onetime Taliban sanctuary see signs that
the insurgents have regained momentum in recent weeks, despite early
claims of success by U.S. Marines. The longer-than-expected effort to
secure Marja is prompting alarm among top American commanders that they
will not be able to change the course of the war in the time President
Obama has given them."
- Not Enough Attention on Failures
The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl worries, "The
White House hasn't had to do much defending of its Afghan policy since
President Obama announced it in December. While that's a welcome change
from the poisonous polarization of the Bush-era Iraq debate, it is also
lamentable in one important way: Not many people are noticing the
growing problems in the president's surge strategy."
Joining U.S. in 'Giving Up' The U.K. Spectator's Melanie Phillips frets,
"it is marching in lockstep with Obama out of Afghanistan, regardless of
whether or not the Afghans really are capable of holding the Taleban at
bay. And as we can see from the satirically-named new ‘national
security driven’ approach, Britain is sliding the bar that the Afghans
have to clear in order to show they are up to the task downwards -- to
merely ‘some stability’, for heaven’s sake -- in order to cover
the fact that the British and Americans are effectively giving up on
- Liberals Should More Vocally Oppose War The New Republic's Michael Cohen writes, "Members of left-leaning, DC-based
think tanks and advocacy organizations
have either tacitly supported the Afghanistan strategy or offered
tactical suggestions to improve a policy that some privately believe is
irredeemable. These are the groups that should be providing the policy
ammunition for liberals to speak more authoritatively on Afghanistan."
Indifference Enables Obama The Daily Beast's Peter Beinart explains, "the
public’s boredom and disillusionment with international affairs
actually makes it easier for the Obama administration to sustain U.S.
deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. As Richard Nixon realized when he
ended the draft in 1973, and thus sucked the oxygen out of the
anti-Vietnam movement, it’s easier to prosecute a war when that war
doesn’t directly affect the vast majority of Americans"
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