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Strong opinions, weakly held

Where we are in Afghanistan

Australian reporter Paul McGeogh has been covering the war in Afghanistan since its outset. Last week he gave a talk on the state of things in Afghanistan in Australia, using General McChrystal’s report on the state of things in Afghanistan as a hook for predicting what awaits us in the future. It’s a must-read.

Here’s his preview:

That is what makes the 60-page assessment of the conflict by US General Stanley McChrystal a damning document, more because of who he is than what he actually has to say.

The handling of the crisis by the US-led coalition has its many critics. But seeing so many of its shortcomings articulated with all the authority of a top American general makes startling reading. Since the report was leaked in Washington last month, the debate has been narrow, focusing on the question of sending more troops than on what amounts to his condemnation of the conduct of the venture.

The detail is excruciating.

McGeogh’s outlook is pessimistic, but not without good cause. I think at this point it would be impossible for the US to make the kind of commitment necessary to achieve a positive outcome in Afghanistan. So what should we do? It’s looking like it’s “muddle through” or “cut our losses” and muddling through (and pretending we’re building toward success) looks like the popular choice.

1 Comment

  1. I was thinking about this on the Metro this morning – reading some typically sub-par coverage of the Afghanistan issue and the question that popped into my head was: “WHAT IS THE POLICY OBJECTIVE?” — absent a clear articulation of that, it is impossible to judge the merits of any particular strategy. I thought that I should probably dig into this report (which I’d also seen a link to over at Digby’s with some add’l commentary by her – http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/we-have-watches-they-have-time-by-digby.html) and some other things – I mean, maybe there is a clearly-articulated policy objective but the media is just too stupid to explain it, but I just don’t know if I have the stomach.

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