Saturday, August 28, 2010


I think Karzai may actually be trying to make Obama's next decision as easy as possible.  I am becoming of the opinion that Obama may take this stand next year:
I have given the generals what they have asked for.  Our troops have performed admirably, adjusting to a new kind of war and paying a terrible price for it.  But in this kind of war, as the generals remind me, the military aspects only get us so far.  To win this kind of war, we need to have a government on the ground that the people can support.  It does not have to be a perfect government, but it needs to be one that is committed to making progress.  Unfortunately, it has become abundantly clear that the Karzai government is actually an obstacle to progress.  From the election that President Karzai and others deliberately undermined to the efforts to block any serious attempt to address corruption, we have enough evidence to show that this is simply a government upon which we cannot build.  We can continue to pour money and lives into this country, but without sincere efforts by the Karzai government, we will not be able to make progress.   Therefore, I am now committed to drawing down our troops now and handing over the effort to the Afghans, ready or not. 
 It would be brave, it would be ugly, it would not produce a great outcome, and, of course, the concern really is about Pakistan.  But I don't think Karzai wants us to help them build a semi-capable government.  So, either we just create mini-states and lots of decentralization or we focus on limiting the damage done to the neighbors as we get out.

I knew that Karzai was not a great bet a few years ago, but he has defied every expectation of being minimally supportive of the mission.

Of course, I could just have the traveling blues.

1 comment:

Chris C. said...

I don't see what Karzai's trying to do by staying in power if he really wants the US out. He's already set himself up as a huge target for assassination by pretty much any faction and if he loses US support, he's not going to win as a warlord. With all his contacts around the world, he has plenty of options for an exit strategy, yet he continues to remain in Afghanistan. Does he have a death wish?

In any case, if Obama wanted to withdraw 90% of our troops from Afghanistan (leaving a garrison in Kabul and Spec Ops), that's fine with me if we could broker some deal with the secularish warlords (i.e. local problems) to keep the radical Al-Qaeda and Taliban types out of power.