I’m not here to lay out a comprehensive military strategy. That’s the job of our commanders on the ground. I can tell you what our strategic goals should be. They should be relatively modest. We shouldn’t want to take over the country. We should want to get out of there as quickly as we can and help the Afghans govern themselves and provide for their own security. Our critical goal should be to make sure that the Taliban and al Qaida are routed and that they cannot project threats against us from that region. And to do that I think we need more troops. I also think that we need to deal with the situation in Pakistan and the fact that terrorists are able to operate with relative freedom of movement there right now.
As in the old saw about eating at a Chinese restaurant, fifteen minutes later I’m left wanting something more.
How do you ensure that the Taliban and al Qaida are routed and that they cannot project threats against us from that region without destabilizing the tenuous government of Pakistan and actually making Pakistan that much more of a safe haven for the terrorists? Indeed, how can you achieve any of those goals without installing a permanent force in the country? How many U. S. troops will be required, how long will it take, and at what cost? How does he plan to persuade the American people to bear that cost especially when his domestic policies require cost savings by removing our forces from Iraq and presumably not re-deploying them to Afghanistan?
Afghanistan has an even sketchier history as a cohesive country than Iraq does. Nation-building in Iraq has been daunting enough that Sen. Obama apparently thinks it impossible. Why will Afghanistan be easier?