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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Afghanistan: Obama's Good War

Obama ran in 2008 on the message that Afghanistan was the war to fight.  He agreed to a troop surge shortly after taking office.  Most of our casualties there have occurred on his watch.  And he has announced a nearly 10,000-troop presence (which usually means a lot more support elements) through all of 2015.   Good column here by Harsanyi gives the details:

Note that in Bob Gates's book, Obama never seemed to believe in this war commitment, but he did it anyway.  (Remember his ideological roots.)

Remarkable how the "pitiless crowbar of events" turned Obama into a foreign policy realist, by necessity, not choice.

The Afghanistan war deserves a longer post. It started in 2011 as a punitive action, supported by international law, because the Mullah Omar's Taliban regime refused to give up Osama Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. After easily overthrowing him, we stuck around, on the theory that we needed to deny terrorists "safe havens" and we needed to restore the country to some semblance of good governance.

We should have treated Afghanistan like we did Mexico in 1916, sending in a punitive expedition to teach them a lesson and then getting out to fry bigger fish (in that case, an impeding war in Europe.)
General Pershing, with Pancho Villa and General Obregon, in 1914.  Two years later, Pershing was chasing Villa. 
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