The Afghanistan Parenthesis

David Bromwich. Huffington Post, 02 December 2009.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/the-afghanistan-parenthes_b_377141.html

Excerpt:

… the president spoke as if Al Qaeda were the name of a distinct, finite, searchable entity that can be subdued by an intensification (lasting exactly 18 months) of American fighting in the country that was once its camp. As for the Taliban, whatever else they may be, they are native to Afghanistan. This cannot be said of Al Qaeda, but it cannot be said, either, of the soldiers, trainers, advisers, and contractors sent by the United States.

There is a misjudged air of precision in the idea of a renewed and extended war that closes at 18 months because that “benchmark” was settled in advance. How can anyone be sure that the scale of so entangling a mission, with so many pitfalls, will fit neatly into the shape of a year and a half?

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