Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, August 20, 2009 8:47 pm

And it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fightin’ for?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lex @ 8:47 pm
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With al-Qaeda now largely decamped from Afghanistan to Pakistan, the U.S. military there now facing a homegrown insurgency rather than an international terrorist movement and Americans dying in Afghanistan at some of the highest rates since 2001, dday at Hullabaloo observes, “Actually, we have morphed our goals in Afghanistan, from counter-terrorism to counter-insurgency, without anyone really challenging it.”

Except that, well, someone actually is challenging it:

A majority of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting, and just a quarter say more U.S. troops should be sent to the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

I had no trouble seeing the point of having the U.S. military in Afghanistan to pursue al-Qaeda. That was about as clearly defined and rational a national-security interest involving combat as we’ve had since World War II. But why are we still there? What, exactly, are we attempting to achieve, are we going about it in the right way, and whether we are or not, what is the likelihood of success?

I ask because I honestly do not know.


  1. We’re still there for two reasons:

    1. We don’t have the guts or willpower to finish the job against al-Qaeda for fear of Pakistan, but we want to stay close in case an opportunity presents itself.
    2. We don’t know how to leave.

    Just reflecting out loud…

    Comment by Blair — Friday, August 21, 2009 2:39 am @ 2:39 am

  2. I think both those observations are absolutely correct. (And I might even add 1a: We don’t want Pakistani nukes to fall into al-Qaeda hands.) Whether they constitute compelling arguments, I’m still wrestling with.

    I imagine the country will be wrestling for a while, too, which I’m really looking forward to because of the vast amounts of level-headed analysis and rational discourse that tend to accompany any subject that puts “nukes” and “al-Qaeda” in the same sentence.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, August 21, 2009 10:22 am @ 10:22 am

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