Obama should stop dithering

The only thing that has ever mattered to Obama about the nightmare he inherited is that he is not perceived by the America people come the next election as “the man who lost the Afghan War”. His decision to dispatch a further 30,000 U.S. troops is therefore a dangerous ploy. Presumably he thinks that this “one last push” scenario will give him a future framework for withdrawal. Since he must be seen to be bringing some of the boys back home for the US mid-term elections less than a year from now, pulling this off will be a neat trick. So all the sacrifice and bloodshed is now driven by the grubby maneuvering of national politics rather than any humanitarian commitment. We know that the Karzai government is doomed and that the Taliban has established ‘shadow’ administrations in 33 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Progress with training and expanding the Afghan Army is proving as hopeless for NATO as it was for the Russians. Through all the fog of political double-speak, the reality is that we are in the business of managing failure. This troop ‘surge’ is not going to work since ordinary Afghans know that the Taliban will ultimately prevail. We should sustain economic and diplomatic support for Pakistan and Afghanistan but bring our boys back home as soon as possible.

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