My column for PBS this week focuses on the Obama Review.
As an example, how does one measure the metrics laid out for Afghanistan? The U.S. position is to deny safe haven to al Qaeda and deny the Taliban the ability to overthrow the Afghan government. The U.S.’s means to accomplish this is to “degrade” the Taliban insurgency so the Afghan government can “build sufficient capacity” so al Qaeda stays away and the Taliban doesn’t threaten the state. In effect, the U.S. strategy is to delay and push back the Taliban just long enough so the Afghan government can do it on its own.
That is not really an end state. Nor is it clear why the only means to prevent al Qaeda’s return to Afghanistan and to keep the Taliban from taking over the government is a massive military campaign focused only in a few provinces.
Read, and comment.