For PBS, I wonder why both pro- and anti-war people seem to have no sense of strategic or long-term thinking:
It is so hard to talk about the end state in Afghanistan because it’s hard to say why we are still there. The original goal of removing the Taliban from power and preventing al Qaeda from launching another attack on our homeland was achieved in 2002. Since then the goal has shifted shape and become indefinable: the creation of a state with “good-enough governance,” in the words of Ambassador Crocker, with a military that can defend itself and prevent the reemergence of al Qaeda sanctuaries in the country. In many ways, it is a strategy that has failed to define itself affirmatively. Rather, it is one defined by the absence of corruption, the absence of al Qaeda. It is not a strategy for anything, which makes it confusing.
It is unclear how we are meant to achieve this strategic negation. The Obama administration has vacillated on whether it wants to defeat the Taliban or negotiate an end to the worst of the fighting with them. For years, the civilian and military personnel who serve at the highest levels have insisted the war cannot be won militarily, yet we spend 97 percent of our resources on the military mission. We can be forgiven for being confused about what we’re trying to do.
There’s more to it, obviously, so read and then (and only then) comment. It almost goes without saying that I didn’t even bring up what Afghans might want, except as an aside. We can’t even figure out what we want; why should we expect our leaders to follow whatever the Afghans might have in mind?