Thursday, November 05, 2009
Steve Simon, with whom I worked in State's old Politico-Military Bureau, has an op-ed in yesterday's Financial Times, "Pull the Plug on the Afghan Surge." I agree with most of his reasons to oppose a surge, except the last one: that if we withdraw troops from Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, the bad guys in Pakistan will probably return to Afghanistan and ease the situation in Pakistan, which is more serious. I don't think that making Afghanistan more attractive to the bad guys, whether Taliban or al-Qaeda, is a good argument for a military strategy. We should not offer them an unfettered base of operations in either country. But I don't think we need huge forces in Afghanistan to interdict the bad guys, but we should attack them whenever we are able to, and we should maintain enough forces to make their life unpleasant, if not impossible.