'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Quagmire 

From today's New York Times:

President Obama will send an additional 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan this spring and summer in the first major military move of his presidency, White House officials said on Tuesday.

The increase would come on top of 36,000 American troops already there, making for an increase of nearly 50 percent. In issuing the order, Mr. Obama is choosing a middle ground, addressing urgent requests from commanders who have been pressing for reinforcements while postponing a more difficult judgment on a much larger increase in personnel that the commanders have been seeking.

In a written statement issued by the White House on Tuesday evening, Mr. Obama said that deteriorating security in Afghanistan demands urgent attention and swift action to address a problem that has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires.

Last year, I explained that Obama communicates about Afghanistan in a confused way that reveals a fundamental lack of understanding about what is transpiring there. Nothing has changed. Incapable of implementing a coherent policy, he is instead resorting to the tried and true method of new troop deployments to mask it. Given the obvious dissatisfaction of the Obama administration with Karzai, one wonders how long before he ends up like Diem.

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