Friday, October 30, 2009

Least Useful Op-ed on Afghanistan?

You be the judge: David Brooks of the NYT asserted that the real question in Afghanistan is determination--is Obama sufficiently stubborn to carry through an open-ended war?  As a supposed hardliner on Afghanistan, I think that staying the course is perhaps the best option, that a mini-surge might be the right idea, but I wouldn't question Obama's ability to be determined.  Think about how he got here--by winning a campaign against the Chosen One (Hillary Clinton) who had the party machine on his side.

But Brooks does remind me of a key bit of magic--how to disapparate--how to disappear and teleport in Harry Potter?  It requires deliberation, determination, and destination (as opposed to the five D's of dodgeball--dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge).  Certainly, Obama is deliberating pretty seriously, meeting with the Joint Chiefs today.  Brooks questions his determination, but there is a pretty fine line between determination and self-destructive obsession.  But really, the big obstacle is destination--can we really get to a semi-self-sustaining Afghanistan?  Can Karzai (or Abdullah if he somehow wins) do the stuff that is necessary to build a semi -competent, semi-corrupt government?  It may be the case that Obama doubts that we can get to the destination.  Certainly, events since March have given us all pause--the level of violence, the election fraud, etc--so I really do not mind the President taking a few weeks to re-evaluate things in light of new information.  That seems preferable to staying the course without any review despite significant changes on the ground.

1 comment:

Mrs. Spew said...

Brooks questions Obama's determination because he's a conservative columnist and it's his job to try to convince others that Obama, a Democrat, is not up for the job for which he was elected. Obama could stand on the flight deck of a carrier in a flightsuit and announce his determination and Brooks would still question it. It's the same will he be able to answer the red phone in the middle of the night, operate as Commander in Chief crap they did in the elections.