Max Boot's Metric In Afghanistan

Some tough criteria here:

The good news is that success in war is a lot like pornographyyou know it when you see it ... If Americans (and others) see violence decreasing and the Taliban on the run, they will know the war is a success. If not, then the war will be a judged a failure.

What does he mean: will be judged a failure? US troops have now been fighting this amorphous enemy for almost eight years. And we're still asking if this war is a success or failure?

The premise of Boot's worldview is that the US is responsible for security in every failed state that Jihadists could control or exploit. This logic is a kind of extension of the one percent doctrine: Since another 9/11 can come from anywhere, the US needs to occupy as many places as possible to prevent it. The fact that this can actually create more Jihadism does not seem to have occurred to these people. But, remember, they all assured us that there was WMD stockpiles in Iraq, that the insurgency didn't exist, and that sectarianism had long since died out under Saddam. They obviously have no idea what they're talking about - and more young American and British soldiers are being killed.

There is, moroever, never any consideration in neoconservative circles of whether the US in its current economic state can afford such an open-ended, nation-building neo-imperial project. They're apoplectic at the thought that some middle class workers might get a crack at health insurance for fiscal reasons. But endless empire? Just sign the checks.

And at any moment that a sane and sober appraisal of US interests is proffered, we get two answers: the next 9/11 will be your fault; and withdrawal will be a p.r. boon to al Qaeda. This is - how to put it? - getting tiresome.