Monday, December 7, 2009
Time Magazine Turns on War in Afghanistan Hard
Tony Karon's new Time Magazine defiantly denounces President Obama's call for a troop escalation. It's title, Five Flawed Assumptions of Obama's Afghan Surge, says it all, and the piece itself summarizes concisely points that this site and many others have been arguing for months:
1. Expanding the ground war against the Taliban will in no way guarantee us any greater success in finding and confront members of Al-Qaeda.
2. We cannot build an Afghan National Army capable of defending its national sovereignty within a few years.
3. We cannot work with President Karzai.
4. A an alleged withdrawal date will not exert pressure on President Karzai, who has been forging alliances with the expectation that we will leave eventually anyway.
5. Pakistan may take on insurgents that challenge its own government, but it never has, and probably never will fight members of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban on the border if they are merely using the region to launch attacks into Afghanistan.
Conducting a war under these realities is a lot harder than waging one under the false assumptions the Obama administration has presented. Surprisingly, the Time article does not even offer an "on the hand" argument. This article is firmly against Obama's Afghanistan policy, in more decisive terms than any publication of its stature. It's worth checking out.
The most recent Time issue also includes a typically wishy-washy editorial from Joe Klein, who does include a gem of a sentence in which he calls Obama's deliberations over the war:
the struggles of a highly intelligent, dispassionate man to find a rationale for a mission that is crucial but slightly crazy, a decision that will define his presidency.