A propos of “do or not do”, the editors of the Washington Post are critical of the president’s plans with respect to Afghanistan:
“People have said, ‘Doesn’t this show that you should never take the troops out of Afghanistan?’ ” a White House official said this week, according to the New York Times. Mr. Obama’s response, according to this official: “He said, ‘No, it actually points to the imperative of having political accommodation. There’s a limit to what we can achieve absent a political process.’ ”
That’s true, of course. But what is the best way to promote political accommodation? Since Mr. Obama announced that he would pull all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of his second term, it’s not surprising that Afghan factions have begun looking for ways to hedge their bets and ensure their survival if order begins to break down. Two presidential candidates have each laid claim to the office, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s effort to broker a compromise is in danger. As The Post’s Pamela Constable reported Wednesday, “fears are growing that Afghanistan’s fragile transition process could collapse into violence.”
In the interests of clear thinking, I believe this would be a very good time for the president to re-articulate the reasons he believed that we should put more troops into Afghanistan in 2008 as well as his assessment of whether the goals he wanted to achieve have been accomplished there. Isn’t that how you determine what your policy should be? Figure out what you want to do and the means necessary for accomplishing that?