Outspending The Taliban

Ackerman plucks out an interesting bit of testimony from Gen. McChrystal about the Taliban paying its soldiers more than the Afghan government does. Yglesias reflects:

[A]s far as problems go it’s an exceedingly correctable one. If there’s anything the international coalition has, it’s more money than the Taliban. If the Taliban pay $300 a month, there should be no problem with the coalition putting $350 or $400 a month together. This sort of thing is one reason why, despite some serious doubts about the strategy being pursued, I think there’s reason to believe Obama, Petraeus, McChrystal, etc. can make it work. Some of the mistakes in our policy are so egregious that an enormous amount of good is going to be done as we simply reverse the obvious errors.

He also asks: "Why are we spending a multiple of Afghanistan’s total GDP on fighting a war in the country? Couldn’t more be done, for cheaper, with cash for bribes and development?"