The Case For Modesty In Afghanistan, Ctd

Exum goes another round:

Where I think Justin and the rest of the [Afghanistan Study Group (ASG)] get things wrong is when he says that our interests [in Afghanistan] are "reasonably easy to achieve." This gets back to the main point I made in (constructively, I thought) criticizing the ASG: the lack of actual knowledge of Afghanistan and the current environment there within the ASG contributes to a drastic underestimation of the difficulty we would have securing our interests through their proposed strategy. (They might also, as one friend pointed out, similarly overestimate the costs of the status quo.) So again, I applaud the efforts of the ASG, but they would have perhaps been better off drafting this guy or this guy -- neither of them "counterinsurgency enthusiasts," as Steven Walt has taken to calling me -- into their team to help them sort through how they might operationalize an alternative strategy in a way that makes sense in Afghanistan's local context.