Real Work Now, for Prez-Elect

by Joshua Foust on 11/5/2008 · 6 comments

Can Barrack Obama do anything about civilian casualties in Afghanistan? It is actually a pertinent question considering the manpower restraints on the ground; with no real extra troops to draw at least until early 2009, the war there must continue in more or less the same fashion it has for the last several years.

This time the main concern revolves around yet another wedding bombing, this time down in Shah Wali Kot in Kandahar (we discussed this yesterday). Our friend Alex Strick van Linschoten, who’s been reporting from Kandahar for a long while now, posts some pictures from the women’s ward of the nearby hospital and highlights his coverage in The Globe and Mail:

Dozens of Afghan civilians are dead and dozens more are wounded after a series of air strikes aimed at Taliban fighters fell short of their target and exploded in the middle of a wedding party in a mountainous region north of Kandahar city, tribal elders and wedding guests told The Globe and Mail on Tuesday.

Survivors of the attacks, which occurred in the village of Wech Baghtu in the district of Shah Wali Kowt on Monday evening, said the majority of the dead and injured were women – the bombs struck while male and female wedding guests were segregated, as is customary in Kandahar province.

I don’t see how Obama has anything to do with this, reality check or no. It is pushing a good eighteen months now that he’s been relentlessly pilloried by the Right for expressing a concern over both Afghan civilian casualties and the problems posed by the “light footprint strategy” and consequent over-reliance on air strikes.

So it’s not like this was all unknown information and analysis Obama will now only see with intelligence briefings. Why put everything back on him? It’s not his job to rework tactics. I’d be more concerned about him understanding the military, the details of his domestic responsibilities, and broader macro-level issues the U.S. faces in the entire region, than his ability to micromanage a conflict like a black Bill Clinton. It is the strategery I want to see from him—a proper strategy will yield the ultimate effect of a decreased reliance on air strikes, and maybe, maybe fewer innocent people bombed on their wedding day.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Peter November 7, 2008 at 1:37 am

Is there any particular reason why you keep misspelling Obama’s first name?
Is it something you can “Change”? Yes, you can.

Laurence Jarvik November 7, 2008 at 9:11 am

Josh, Any idea who is in charge of Afghanistan policy for Obama? Inquiring minds want to know…

Joshua Foust November 7, 2008 at 10:07 am


Clearly, it is hatred, not laziness or an honest mistake. Clearly.


If I knew that, I’d either be prepping to move back to DC, or I’d be paid significantly more because I would be important in some way. Since neither is the case, I’m afraid you know as much as I do.

Laurence Jarvik November 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Maybe some Registan reader might share the info with us?

Laurence Jarvik November 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Maybe some Registan reader might share the info with us?

Laurence Jarvik November 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Maybe some Registan reader might share the info with us?

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