It doesn’t get any better than this editorial cartoon from Paul Szep.
No matter what side you’re on regarding Afghanistan, Karzai and corruption are our biggest enemies right now.
Progressives from all quarters want to completely withdraw. MoveOn.org is pushing hard on that score. Sen. Feingold wants a timetable. The overwhelming majority of readers around here wanting out altogether as well.
So, I’m outnumbered on Afghanistan. And while I’m against further escalation and adding more troops at this point, I’m opposed to a complete withdrawal, even as the entire operation in Afghanistan worries me greatly. Hearing McChrystal may ask for as many as 40,000 troops, while some say that even that amount won’t really matter, gives me heartburn. But looking at Pakistan, which is the real issue, I don’t see how we keep the region from exploding without security in Afghanistan. Waiting for the experts to figure that one out is taking too long for comfort.
Then I see this headline from the Weekly Standard: Déjà vu: Afghan Surge Skeptics Same As Iraq Surge Naysayers. If that was truly the comparison, Afghanisan to Iran, which I do not think it is, there would be no struggling about what to do.
The Administration has hit a collision course of opinions. The New York Times reporting:
Mr. Powell is one of the three people outside the administration, along with Senator John F. Kerry and Senator Jack Reed, considered by White House aides to be most influential in this current debate. All have expressed varying degrees of doubt about the wisdom of sending more forces to Afghanistan.
Mr. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has warned of repeating the mistakes of Vietnam, where he served, and has floated the idea of a more limited counterterrorist mission. Mr. Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and an Army veteran, has not ruled out supporting more troops but said “the burden of proof” was on commanders to justify it.
In the West Wing, beyond Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has advocated an alternative strategy to the troop buildup, other presidential advisers sound dubious about more troops, including Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, and Gen. James L. Jones, the national security adviser, according to people who have spoken with them. At the same time, Mr. Obama is also hearing from more hawkish figures, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. …
Clinton’s position likely comes from security side looking at the threat to the population and the inability to get enough help in to the Afghan people, because of a lack of security. Holbrooke as well. Though there is clearly a large field of challenges that concern State.
But an all in strategy on building the Afghan nation will be tough with the American people clearly not behind it, a deadly political warning that Obama is no doubt watching. It’s also not been proven, in my opinion, that Obama is willing to risk everything on Afghanistan. Is he really a believer? I just don’t get that sense.
This reality should stop everyone from considering an escalation:
Other officers, who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and say they admire General McChrystal nonetheless, have privately expressed doubt that additional troops will make a difference. Others question the broader impact of such a buildup on the overall armed forces.
I’ve resisted, at every turn, any comparisons to Vietnam, but if this is the prevailing feeling, adding more troops is foreign policy suicide.
All of this will be discussed on the Sunday shows. And don’t forget that Christiane Amanpour is on after Fareed Zakaria on CNN. The best two hours of television on Sunday.