The Bottom Line

More

A reader sums it up nicely:

I think pretty much everyone is missing the point:  no one knows what ‘victory’ in Afghanistan would look like or how to achieve it.  It is foolish on so many levels to make an open-ended commitment, so Obamaunusual in my viewhas made the right call:  escalate, hopefully inflict substantial casualties on the Taliban and AQ, possibly snag OBL in the process, and then get out on our terms rather than departing in a fashion that looks, to the Muslim world, like retreat.  It is pretty much all we can do and I am glad he is doing it. If there is an off-chance the surge will actually make a difference, that is a bonus.

The moral question is simply whether it is right to send young men and women to die for a couple more years to make an exit less dangerous and more face-saving than simply quitting now.

By giving the military a chance to inflict maximal damage on the Taliban and the CIA lee-way to do the same to al Qaeda within Pakistan, Obama means to achieve maximal weakening of foes before a strategic withdrawal.

Any withdrawal will be met with Romney-Palin-style accusations of weakness, treason, irresolution. But a withdrawal after a big surge is less likely to be successfully targeted in that manner. And after ten years, will Americans really want to keep 100,000 troops in a lunar landscape run by a kleptocracy because that's where al Qaeda used to hang out? The more I think about this, the smarter it is - both militarily and politically.

But that tends to happen with Obama decisions, doesn't it?

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down