One thought on “On The Radio”

  1. Jim Hanson’s introduction set’s up a false dichotomy: 1) Commit fully to victory, providing any and all resources needed (lots more), or 2) pull out now. In fact, it’s pretty clear that we are following a middle way by commiting limited resources for a limited time frame.

    The judgment (under Bush as well as Obama) has been that the national interest does not justify unlimited resources in Afghanistan, and that the middle way is better than an immediate pull out. In fact, Marc and Jim Hanson agree with this. Marc indicates that pulling out now would be a disaster and that we need to “right size” the operation for the long haul. It seems pretty clear that the mini surge in 2010-11, followed by a reduction in force beginning in 2011 is designed to do just that.

    Marc seems to agree that “winning” in Afghanistan is not the point. He observes that “winning” in Afghanistan would be like invading Bavaria to set up a loyal governor at the height of Nazi power, then leaving. That “win” would be overturned the next day. The point is the Nazi movement, not Bavaria, just like the point now is Islamic terrorism, not Aghanistan. This analogy suggests that a holding pattern with the minimum resources required is the best we can do. It seems to effectively reject the false dichotomy established at the top of the show.

    If Islamic terrorism is a disease for which we have no effective drug or cure, then we have no option but to wait it out and keep the inflammation down as best we can until it heals. If the point is not to build a modern Afghanistan, the best we can do is to sit on them until it’s safe to leave, and to piss them off as little as possible in the process. This would seem to counsel against hard counter-insurgency measures or expending vast resources on nation-building efforts, or pulling out altogether.

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