Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Left Takes The Lead On Afghanistan

New item up at Comment is Free:
While it's good that McCain seems finally to have noticed the extent of the crisis in Afghanistan – where he had previously suggested we could just "muddle through" while focusing the bulk of our resources on Iraq – McCain simply refused to acknowledge the single most significant factor contributing to that crisis: the decision to invade Iraq. "The shift of US resources and attention to Iraq in 2003 gave al-Qaida and the Taliban the respite they needed to reconstitute safe havens in the ungoverned border areas of neighbouring Pakistan," wrote analysts Spencer Boyer and James Lamond.

A firm grasp of this fact is one of the reasons that the far more vigorous debate over the future of the US intervention in Afghanistan – and about American national security in general – is now taking place on the left. While McCain and the military-centric thinkers at AEI continue to present Afghanistan as a problem that can be overcome by the application of more guns backed by stronger wills, (as they delusively believe problems in Iraq have been) progressive organisations like the Center for American Progress (where I am employed), National Security Network and grassroots groups like Get Afghanistan Right have been engaged in a deeper debate over what the appropriate mission should be in Afghanistan, and how much blood and treasure Americans should be willing to spend to complete that mission.

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