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A Surge In Thinking Would Be Nice

Tuesday, Dec. 01, 2009 3:53 AM

President Obama is scheduled to give a speech at West Point this evening, announcing his decision on Afghanistan. It is expected that he will approve an additional 30,000 troops for deployment to the region.

But is this really the answer? Afghanistan has defied both the British Empire and the Soviet Union, significantly contributing to the downfall of the latter.

A 'surge' is not a strategy. It wasn't when it was prettied up with a bow and trotted out by General David Petraeus, and it isn't now that the baton's been handed to General Stanley McChrystal.

Has there really been that much of a quantum advance in fighting wars that 30,000 men can turn an untenable situation into an easy victory? We're to believe the Soviets lacked the manpower or the political will?

Just as with Iraq, we're waiting on the new government to get its act together and blossom into this wonderful example of a free and democratic nation. Yet this is Hamid Karzai's second five-year term, and there are allegations of corruption. So 30,000 troops are supposed to fix this ... how?

And is Karzai simply a victim of circumstance, condemned to play politics, or is he another example of America's busted picker when it comes to prospective foreign leaders, like Ahmad Chalabi?

But let's be honest. If we withdraw, it's Obama's fault. If we send more troops and nothing changes, it's Obama's fault, because he should have sent more. If we send more troops and we soundly defeat the Taliban remnant, it's Obama's fault because he should have acted sooner.

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