Monday, August 24, 2009

More Troops for Afghanistan?

The situation in Afghanistan shows no signs of improving. Indeed,

American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama’s chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders. ...

The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war.

The question raised by this story is why the administration is not withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan? Withdrawal would have two political benefits: generating applause from the liberal base, and freeing up tax dollars for other purposes. Yet while (slowly) withdrawing from Iraq, the administration has increased our involvement in Afghanistan. Why?

One possibility is that the administration actually believes the U.S. can install democracy and/or capitalism in Afghanistan. If that is the case, the administration is delusional; the Great Powers have been trying to impose their will on this part of the world for centuries, without success.

A second possibility is that the administration fears the political consequences of appearing soft on terrorism, especially in case of another attack on U.S. soil. If that is the explanation, the administration is miscalculating: the Republicans will blame Obama no matter what, so he might as well just do the right thing.

From every perspective, therefore, we should withdraw our troops from the Middle East. Now.

8 comments:

Mike Huben said...

I'd love to know how 2 possibilities constitutes "every perspective". Talk about classic false dichotomies!

A third possibility is denial of Afghanistan to both the Taliban and Al Queda. That is far more likely to be possible. And we could probably come up with numerous other perspectives.

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