President Obama and his advisers have been struggling of late over how many troops the U.S. should commit to Afghanistan.
My view is that we have only two real options: zero, or "many."
The in-between path we have chosen so far appears to have no chance of producing any kind of lasting peace, conquest of territory, or installation of true democracy or capitalism. It is hard to see how it can ever make real progress along any relevant dimension.
The approach of sending zillions of troops might have some chance of suppressing the Taliban, just as Saddam Hussein's highly militarized, repressive regime was more or less successful in supressing the Shiites. This approach is enormously costly, however, not just because it involves huge commitments of resources but becuase it means we are, in effect, acting as a totalitarian government in a foreign country.
So, I vote for option #1: bring all the troops home now.