Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Afghan policy unravels

A demoralised American Army is a clear victory for the Taliban. If Osama had intended the 9/11 attack to generate an irrational reaction from the US and then be stuck in a quagmire in Afghanistan then he must be thrilled. It is a depressing moment for Obama too, since he chose to make Afghanistan his war. From all accounts Obama is a reluctant player in all this. Wasting innocent Afghanis does not give him the same satisfaction that it gave the Bush/Cheyne duo. I would not want to be in Petreus's shoes right now. His mission to give a clear statement of purpose to the troops in Afghanistan, to his Nato allies and to an increasingly impatient public back home is a very difficult one. It is truly Obama's job, but he is stuck with some really bad compromises. He should never have let Bush off the hook as easily as he did. He does not relish the job of being a war President and the army can see that he will bring them nothing but disgrace. The political fall out for Obama will be negative even though he has now put a Bush appointee in charge of Afghanistan.

I believe that Obama was pushed into the surge in Afgahanistan against his better judgement. The increased drone attacks may have been his own initiative. Neither initiative seems to have worked out so far and the army is perceiving him as "disengaged" . The right decision would have been to denounce both wars as wrong wars, to cut our losses and develop an appropriate exit strategy. It is another matter that the real legacy of Bush is that the US can never leave either Iraq or Afghanistan and they will have a very uncomfortable stay in either place.

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