Michael Crowley catches Bruce Riedel offering this justification for ramping up the fight in Afghanistan:
The triumph of jihadism or the jihadism of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in driving NATO out of Afghanistan would resonate throughout the Islamic World.This would be a victory on par with the destruction of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. And, those moderates in the Islamic World who would say, no, we have to be moderate, we have to engage, would find themselves facing a real example. No, we just need to kill them, and we will drive them out. So I think the stakes are enormous.
Riedel isn't some nobody. He led the White House's Afghanistan review earlier this year. Crowley says that "this rationale carries more weight at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. than people realize," and if that's true, then color me terrified. This is the sort of thinking that makes it impossible to abandon Afghanistan if the fight looks unwinnable, because the mission itself is to prove that the fight is not unwinnable. This is the kind of thinking, in other words, that leads to quagmires.
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