Afghanistan Conundrum at True/Slant

Obama US AfghanistanE.D. Kain interviewed me via email yesterday for True/Slant on President Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy.

Two short excerpts:

Kain: Can a surge in Afghanistan work?

Joyner: [I]t really depends on what we mean by “work.” And that’s not clear. If it’s defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban and creating competent, non-corrupt government and security forces in 18 months — after failing for 8 years — the answer is a decided No.   Then again, I’m not at all convinced we could achieve those goals in 18 years.

Kain: You describe Obama’s plan as the worst of both worlds, but he’s said we’ll start to withdraw troops in 18 months. Isn’t that a step in the right direction?

Joyner: It’s a step in the wrong direction, followed by a step in the right direction. More importantly, it’s completely incoherent. Either our goals in Afghanistan are worth fighting and dying for or they aren’t. To send 30,000 more troops into harm’s way but to say we’re going to start bugging out after 18 months, win, lose, or draw is at best cynical.

Much more at the link.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.