Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal Out, Bad War Plan Still In

Obama today fired our top military commander in Afghanistan, using the excuse of his caustic, cynical, sophomoric comments on American and Afghan officials. Maybe that is the reason, but if McChrystal were winning the war that might have been forgiven. McChrystal has admitted, though, that he is not winning the war, and he seems to have no new ideas for improving the situation. So out he goes, and in steps David Petraeus. Petraeus is the apostle of counter-insurgency warfare of the type McChrystal was trying to carry out, and certainly nobody in the American military is smarter, so if anyone can improve things it would be him.

But I don't think this war can be won. The extra troops and money we are spending on the war are not making any difference, so far as I can tell. On the contrary the Taliban and their allies continue to get better at fighting Americans, and they continue to expand their influence across the country. I think the best possible solution right now would be some kind of peace deal and power sharing arrangement between Karzai and the Taliban leaders.

I wish Obama had used this event as an excuse to rethink his Afghan strategy, but he insists he has not -- "This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy," he said. Too bad.

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