Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Actually, the best news of the night....

Actually, the best news of the night....

...isn't the start of the Al Franken 6/10 Decade, but this highly sensible pronouncement about future policy in Afghanistan:

National Security Adviser James L. Jones told U.S. military commanders here last week that the Obama administration wants to hold troop levels here flat for now, and focus instead on carrying out the previously approved strategy of increased economic development, improved governance and participation by the Afghan military and civilians in the conflict.

Notes Jones:

"This will not be won by the military alone," Jones said in an interview during his trip. "We tried that for six years." He also said: "The piece of the strategy that has to work in the next year is economic development. If that is not done right, there are not enough troops in the world to succeed."

More common-sense foreign policy. As regular readers know, there was a time when I was supportive of suggestions of sending more troops into Afghanistan; because I felt there was a clear reason for going there in the first place (as a matter of self-defense, given Afghanistan's role in 9/11 and as a staging area for possible future attacks), there has seemed hope at times of a positive outcome (i.e., a stable democracy). Also, a military strategy that relied too much on air power was causing way too many innocent civilian deaths. But it's become increasingly clear that a military-oriented strategy isn't working there because...it's a military strategy. If we've decided for the reasons noted above that Afghanistan is where we wanted to engage in nation building, then maybe it's time to do more building and less blowing up.

One footnote: The scoop on this comes from the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, so here's one of those cases where access actually is worth something.

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