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Obama's Gutsy Decision on Afghanistan

Hats off to President Obama for making a gutsy and correct decision on Afghanistan. With many of his supporters, and some of his own advisers, calling either for a rapid exit or a “minimal” counterterrorist strategy in Afghanistan, the president announced today that he will instead expand and deepen the American commitment. He clearly believes that an effective counterterrorism approach requires an effective counterinsurgency strategy, aimed not only at killing bad guys but at strengthening Afghan civil society and governing structures, providing the necessary security to the population so that it can resist pressures from the Taliban, and significantly increasing the much-derided “nation-building” element of the strategy. The United States, he argues, has to help the Afghan people fulfill “the promise of a better future,” by rooting out government corruption, helping the elected government provide basic services, fighting the narcotics trade, and, in general, advancing “security, opportunity, and justice.” This is the opposite of a “minimal” approach.

It is also evidence that the president is pragmatic in the best sense of the word. He and his key advisers, such as Richard Holbrooke, understand that better and more effective government in Afghanistan is a key to the successful defense of American security. Self-proclaimed “realists” argue, as always, that the pragmatic course is to pull back in Afghanistan. But President Obama recognizes in Afghanistan what the previous administration only belatedly recognized in Iraq: that the only way out is forward.

The president today should probably have approved General David McKiernan’s request for additional troops next year, rather than waiting a few months to make that decision. But if he sticks to his present course, he will make the right call then, too.

By Robert Kagan  | March 27, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Kagan  | Tags:  Robert Kagan  
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5.5. million people collecting unemployment benefits couldn't disagree with you or the 'great' W pretender more. He won't win another term because of this Apocalypto II in the making.

Posted by: lockmallup | March 27, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I love President Obama. No doubt about that, but I disagree with him on his thinking regarding Afghanistan and I believe this is the last nail in the coffin which destroys the country of the USA as Afghanistan destroyed the former Soviet Union and every other invader to that amazing land of long suffering people.

If a neocon supports what President Obama is doing, then what President Obama is doing can't be right.

I would ask that President Obama rethink what he is getting us into and reevaluate this recipe for disaster. It is going to cause more suffering and more pain. We don't have the money for such a disruptive activity as endless war.

Stop listening to the neocons. Listen to the people.

Posted by: goodcake4u | March 27, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Kagan in favor of an Obama decision? Better rethink the decision. This guy has been so wrong, so often.

Posted by: frodot | March 27, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I understand what Kagan is saying, but one thing I have a beef about is the missing phrase Kagan should have said: The US...AND...NATO, with slacker no-load countries - like Germany, Germany, and lest we overlook...Germany... doing their fair part.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | March 27, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Everything depends on fixing Pakistan and denying al-Qaeda and the Taliban safe sanctuary. If we don't or can't eliminate safe sanctuary, something we failed to do in Vietnam, we can't win. Denying safe sanctuary requires fixing Pakistan, a thing that if not impossible, is extremely difficult. In my view, this should be the most urgent and pressing priority.

Posted by: jmwilkins | March 27, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Had Bush made the decision, he would have been called an idiot.

Posted by: JAH3 | March 27, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I believe the Republicans have outsmarted the Democrats in branding the Afghanistan was as the 'Obama war'.

A very deep grave for the Democrats, Afghanistan war is. The Democrats will be buried in the deep valleys of that tribal society, like many others before them.

Posted by: zero1 | March 27, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Too funny, this goes against every single word Obama uttered re: Iraq and Afghanistan during his campaign when he fooled 2/3 of the country. You make a guy that has no Intel and no military experience the Commander in Chief and this is what you get. Now that he has actually been briefed and read-in to the real situation he is putting into action the exact same plan W expoused. But, now that Obama is putting it into action it is "gutsy" and "just what we need." Give me a break.

Posted by: AsstGM | March 27, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"..And the end of the fight
Is tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear,
“A fool lies here
Who tried to hustle the East."

— Rudyard Kipling

Posted by: SarahBB | March 27, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Kagan, a guy who never saw a war he didn't like, now thinks the Army is going to "strengthen Afghan civil society"... Please. How about presenting one piece of evidence that the Army is capable of doing such a thing. Kagan, a guy who never saw mission-creep he didn't like.

Posted by: mus81 | March 27, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Exit strategies are apparently for wimps as well. I would argue in this testosterone laden environment that it would take a whole lot more courage to stand up to the warhawks and just say no than it takes to go along with them out of fear of being called weak. Peace is the higher moral ground. Not war. War is easy. War is failure. The ultimate failure.

Posted by: SarahBB | March 27, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

//Had Bush made the decision, he would have been called an idiot.

Posted by: JAH3 | March 27, 2009 1:37 PM//


And rightfully so.

Posted by: SarahBB | March 27, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"Had Bush made the decision, he would have been called an idiot.

Posted by: JAH3 | March 27, 2009 1:37 PM"

Do you guys ever stop whining? Most rational people understood that American security was directly threatened by the chaos in Afghanistan. e.g., 9-11. Had Bush decided to focus on shoring up Afghanistan security instead throwing billions into the Iraq misadventure, Obama probably wouldn't have to mess with Afghanistan now.

Posted by: mikem1 | March 27, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

When President Bush sent more troops it was a mistake, Iraq or Afghanistan. Obama is sending advisors and this is gutsy. The last time we sent advisors the war was called Viet Nam. Full circle is the way I see it. First it was Dem Kennedy. Now it is Dem Obama. Scary.

Posted by: SouthernCross2 | March 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

War is not a solution, it is failed paradigm. As long as we spend vast amounts of money on fighting in Afghanistan and on security here at home to the financial ruin of ourselves they will be winning. They won't be winning much but it will be gratifying nonetheless and it helps keep their recruiting efforts going forever because no peoples like strange buglike foreigners trying to dominate them in their own land and even fanatic zeolots from their own neighborhood are preferable to that.
The truth is, for their own reasons and grievances about our history of actions in their region they started luring us into a fight just like we lured Russia into Afghanistan.

Some countries just cannot pass up a good fight even if it makes no sense at all. Besides when you have all those smart weapons why not use them? Well for one thing there is nothing there worth blowing up with a million dollar bomb and tons of jet fuel. It does gratify the defense industries bottom line and stimulate taxes or debt depending on which party is in power. We will probably let our country dissolve into a banana republic of ultra-rich and ultra-poor just so we can keep fighting, each party competing to show that they have the best ideas about how to win a war!

It is the winning part that is a problem and the getting Bin Laden, helping secure and stabilize without excessive force and controlling the outcome completely amd fading away is one thing, but dominating,
swaggering and showing them how small and barbaric they are compared to us, and how we know better how to fix it so they become what we want while allowing all kinds of necessary collateral damage.
The truth is that no one wins at war...everyone loses

Posted by: cgillard | March 27, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

AsstGM wrote: "Too funny, this goes against every single word Obama uttered re: Iraq and Afghanistan during his campaign when he fooled 2/3 of the country."

You didn't pay very close attention during the election, did you?

Since 2007, Obama repeatedly said that we should wind down operations in Iraq to free up more troops for Afghanistan/Pakistan. It was one of his major foreign policy points, in fact.

Within two months of taking office, he's winding down operations in Iraq to send more troops to Afghanistan.

And you may be surprised to learn that when Obama proposed this in 2007, the entire Republican Party (and Hillary) said he was a naive fool with no foreign policy experience.

Then Bush quietly started adopting exactly that approach in mid-2008.

It was Bush that adopted Obama's plan, not the other way around.

So basically everything you posted is factually, demonstrably, wrong. Sorry.

Posted by: nodebris | March 27, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Had Bush made the decision, he would have been called an idiot.

YES agreed
Because Bush is an IDIOT !

The Occupation was handled like it was managed by an IDIOT.

Despite the feedback from his Military Leadership..Cheney and Bush ran it with blind abandon.

For some reason IT is about the oil in that region and Less about Pakistan using Nukes.

Simply amazing that we send in a massive expensively equipped army to corner an impoverished internationally, educationally and religiously ignorant population and using force to prove we are better then them.

Yet they incredably and consistently capable of kicking our butts...with not much more than spit.

What I think is going to happen there is going to be less warfare and more diplomacy.

Backed up with Military instead of the other way around.

Except with Bush and Cheney there was no Diplomacy.

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | March 27, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri said last year:

"I challenge you [US President George W Bush], if you are really a man, to send the entire American army to Pakistan and the tribal regions for it to end up in hell."

Bush wasn't stupid enough to bite that crap.

Obama did!!!!!!

Posted by: tropicalfolk | March 27, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

today's san francisco chronicle had an article that the Afghan spy chief has again said that Pakistan's spy agency - ISSI- is still supporting the taliban, including providing material and logistical support; the afghan spy chief also contends that the Paki spy agency is sharing intelligence info with the taliban, including info possibly obtained from US satellites and electronic monitoring of cellphones, email, etc...if the Paki spy agency is actually helping the taliban, then it would seem that Pakistan is not a friend or ally of the US, but an enemy, and as an enemy treated accordingly,,, not giving the paki govt billions and billions of dollars....rather the US Govt should declare to President and prime minister of pakistan that if you are in fact helping the taliban, we will make your life situation VERY UNHAPPY AND VERY UNPLEASANT....

Posted by: RoguesPalace | March 27, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Why have REPUGS started every major War in the history of back the United States, including the war on Drugs on a blind "egotistical" mission and then doesn't stand by the incoming administration to fight them.

They start them, and the next thing you know they want to cow-tow their arses, as if they had nothing to do with it, and then blame the next administration for not end it.

Repugs are bullies first and whiners last.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | March 27, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, what nodebris said. This is entirely consistent with what Obama and Kerry both ran on; it was Bush who came around to their perspective.

And, in fact, that logic is correct. If Afghanistan is allowed to fail, we'll have a real storm on our hands. And there is not the same resentment to foreign occupation there as there has been in Iraq -- in part because the occupying force has been so diverse. It will be crucial to maintain military support from other NATO countries.

Posted by: davestickler | March 27, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"Hats off to President Obama for making a gutsy and correct decision on Afghanistan."

Where is the gutsy decision? The people that are involved, or will be involved to be more accurate, are the limited number of U.S. military personnel who have done or will do repeated deployments, and their families and close friends. There is not a committment by Americans across the board; there is no sacrifice as we continue fighting this war; there is no call for conservation, for sacrifice, buying bonds, doing with less, etc. It's a decision to send the same group of military personnel, that is growing smaller and smaller, in that the general population isn't joining the military for the cause (though they're joining in numbers because the U.S. economy and job market are tanking - to use a military phrase); the military is becoming more and more a job taken by someone who's parent served.

When you tell me that there is a call for sacrifice and for service from all Americans, young and old, college student and college educated, rich and poor, then I'll say it's gutsy.

Posted by: Dungarees | March 27, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I wonder why he didn't say this same thing when Bush's build-up plans as well as beginning the implementation of that policy in Afghanistan. But, I guess that would be giving credit to Bush instead of finding fault. No, our focus was never taken off Afghanistan; Iraq was another front on the "man-caused disasters" or "Overseas Contingency Operation" or whatever nuanced name is in vogue now. Troops were spread thin, because like the bureaucracy in DC, the Army is almost 50% admin / indirect support troops. It was Kerry (who served in Viet Nam) and others who came around to Bush, but keep pushing that other view. At least now, the dems want to win (at least they say so), but the anarchist libs still want to lose.

Posted by: BeanerECMO | March 27, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

In Pakistan now
the war is
stop not at the border young paduwan


Posted by: Heerman532 | March 27, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Bush lite

Afghanistan and Iraq were the wrong wars,wrong enemies,wrong time, and wrong place. One does not win wrong wars by fighting them smarter. You only lose bigger.

Al Queda was 30-100 guys with an audacios and brilliant plan created out of the box. They were NOT the Taleban. That is an enemy of our choosing. And Iraq. Funny we have two insurgencies and what is the fuel for those insurgencies? The infidel occupier. Us. No occupations no insurgencies.

And please it takes NO guts to double down hoping for the best. It takes guts to know when to hold them and when to fold them.

I mentioned wars. Basic military strategy is to fight ONE enemy at a time. Even a schoolyard bully knows that. Which is it. The drug war,the taleban,or al queda? And in Iraq 45 plus enemies all united in throwing out the occupier. The so called surge won NO battles (name them). The surge rented the insurgents for a limited time to the tune of 100 billion a year. The money trucks show up weekly. Some strategy. And what happens when the rented insurgents want a COLA increase?

You can't win a war you haven't even defined.

Posted by: Modeldon_9 | March 27, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The United States has huge problems at home with a crippled economy and a crumbling infrastructure. We have reached out and over extended ourselves to help Iran and now Afghanistan.
It is time to refocus our attention at home and let the UN do its job. We have already paid dearly in lives and funding and its time to go home.

There are many in this country living in abject poverty in West Virginia, Mississippi, not to mention Indian reservations. We have towns where factories have closed and people with no work or health care. There are drug wars in Mexico that threaten this country and an array of other critical problems.

While it is the nature of Americans to care and want to help others, it is now time to be focused upon the critical problems that have developed at home as a result of the negligent leadership of the United States for the past 8 years.

The case has not been made why the National Security of the US is at risk.

Posted by: oldgeek143 | March 27, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The trouble with the word, "pragmatist" is that it is nebulous. As proof, I offer the fact that BOTH of the following statements are true: "One person's pragmatist is another person's leader with no principles" AND "One person's pragmatist is another person's idealogue."

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | March 27, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

How funny that Kagan spends every other sentence returning to slamming those who disagree with him on this, rather than just being able to simply praise Obama's decision.

I guess the "wrong about everything you've ever written about" label has worked its way under his skin, so he's got to lash out at every turn rather than just write something simply positive.

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | March 27, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Many of the posters who disagree with the President on this call are making the same kind of errors in thinking that the Bush administration did, especially the "If they are for it, we must be against it" line of thought. This is foolish. Also, Obama is not counting on the Army to 'rebuild Afghan civil society;" that's what the civilian advisors he is sending are meant to do

And then there are those, like AsstGM, who want to make it look like Obama is reversing course here: this is just delusion. At every turn during the campaign, he said he wanted to draw down in Iraq so we could focus on Afghanistan where our attention should have been all along. He also said he would up the pressure on the Taliban in Pakistan, and the uptick in missile strikes along the border areas looks like the fulfillment of that policy promise.

The plan should be judged on its own merits, and not through the prism of the Iraq war. One can still disagree with the plan, but little here indicates that many are judging the problem and the proposed solution not on its own merits, but on knee-jerk ideological positions. ( BTB Obama said he would put an end to that in policy-making, too!)

Posted by: Paganus | March 27, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It's less surprising that Kagan supports what amounts to a surge in Afghanistan than it is that Obama does. For months during the campaign he parroted the hard left's tiresome (and wholly specious) talking points that the surge in Iraq was a failure.

So, now he wants to use the 'abject failure' paradigm in Afghanistan?

A more trenchant question is what Obama plans to do when Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, which will happen in about 12 months. His video message to the Iranians was rhetorically charged inertia and that's how it was received. The June elections won't make a difference, regardless of whether Ahmadinejad wins or loses.

Add to that Kim Jong Il's threat to restart his nuclear program if we interfere with their upcoming missile launch, and you have the perfect formula for Obama to flaunt his talent...Let's see him talk his way out of these two foreign affairs conundrums.

Close Gitmo? Sounds lofty and made a nice sound byte on the what?

Campaigning is sure easy compared with governing.

More lucid conservative commentary, see my blog at:

Posted by: pmellacc | March 27, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

It is really annoying that WaPo provides too much space for the neocon mouths. As I respect other people opinions, even from those I disagree with, I would not wish to refuse them completely.
However if I wanted to read this much and this often of their silliness, I suppose I could always buy the Weekly Standard instead.
Does this have anything to do with the frequent military-industrial complex ads that run by their columns?

Posted by: skata3 | March 27, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post saying something nice about Obama? The topic must be tax cuts for the rich or war. Okay, it's war.

I must say this is a well laid out plan with purpose, goal and measurability. But, by God, this could be the President's undoing. God Speed, Mr. President. I, for one, don't want you to fail.

Posted by: debbieqd | March 27, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

One of the obvious errors in the commentary and the decision is to make the clear distinction between "the population" and the "Taliban". There is an overlap and as we send more troops and kill more people, (not only the "bad guys") but both friends and enemies by mistake and on purpose, the more enemies we make and the more overlap we make. The "surge" of the insurgents has to do, to some unknown extent, the increased recruitment from "the population" responding to our many "mistakes" and the over long stay of the foreign military occupational forces.

Posted by: scott3108 | March 27, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Ok! Ok!

Repeat after me:

"Bush was right",
"Bush was right",
"Bush was right",

Posted by: ahartnack | March 27, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Spilling another person's guts--how gutsy!

Posted by: rusty3 | March 27, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

If we'd done this back in 2003 we'd be done and back home by now.

Posted by: patrick3 | March 27, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Jut proves that Obama can't be wrong all the time on every decision. Good call, Mr. President! Let's whup-ass us some Islamist terrorists.

Posted by: JMosesBrowning | March 27, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Yet another chickenhawk in favor of shedding blood while being careful to make sure his own is never risked ( see Cheney, Rumsfield etc.)

Posted by: wheatley1 | March 27, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

When a neoCON says it is a good idea, we are in trouble.
I have never figured out why the WaPo allows these guys to publish at will considering their record.

Posted by: jgrasse | March 27, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Gosh Kagan, if this decision that President Obama is making is "gutsy and correct," then I guess former President, Numbnuts made a gutless and erred decision to redirect our military efforts towards Iraq.

I'm sure you really get excited knowing that America's Best will continue spilling blood in a struggle that in all rights should have been over with the severed head of Osama bin Laden several years ago.

By the way, is it time for you to change your Depends?

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | March 27, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to hear Cindy Sheehan, john Murtha, Code Pink, Bill Maher and other assorted Marxists get on Obama about this obviously correct decision. Oh that's right! These Marxists only disagree with soemthing if it comes from a conservative! Better check out for the real scoop.

Posted by: RadicalWhig | March 27, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"this goes against every single word Obama uttered re: Iraq and Afghanistan during his campaign ...
Posted by: AsstGM | March 27, 2009 1:56 PM"
OK, here's a break for you, Obama repeatedly said he would do all he could to achieve victory in Afghanistan during the campaign so you are apparently:
or you just don't listen.

Afghanistan was a justified war, remember?, they harbored the terrorists that attacked us on 911.

Now, on the other hand your good buddy GW admitted that Iraq had nothing to do with 911 and that is why the majority of THE WORLD was/is against it.


Posted by: JRM2 | March 27, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"I can't wait to hear Cindy Sheehan, john Murtha, Code Pink, Bill Maher and other assorted Marxists get on Obama about this obviously correct decision.
Posted by: RadicalWhig | March 27, 2009 7:33 PM"
Except that they weren't against the Afghanistan war, but you repukes keep getting the two countries mixed up like McCain did during the campaign.

Jeez have you any logic?

Posted by: JRM2 | March 27, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

JRM2 just made my case for me. And I'm not a repuke, I'm a RADICAL WHIG!! if you've got the guts JRM2

Posted by: RadicalWhig | March 27, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah...and the war in Kosovo was justified to by the left. Let's see, we had a US President going to war WITHOUT United nations approval to DEPOSE a murdering ruler who had killed FEWER people than Saddam. Well I certainly don't see the hypocrisy there.

Posted by: RadicalWhig | March 27, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Kagan and Kristol have quietly crawled away from the wreckage of their "Project for a New American Century" after t it was proved to be a total disaster. Now they reemerge as (FPI) Foreign Policy Initiative the new face of the military industrial complex Neo con connection, the Chicken hawks never sleep always strutting about looking for a war for others to fight, but they pocket the money.

Posted by: jpenergy | March 27, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Whenever right wing loon like Kagan agree with a policy, it is time to worry and question.

Posted by: kevin1231 | March 27, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately Pres. Obama told us of his concern in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. No surprises. No misleading us.

Too Bad Bush and his crew did not stay in Afghanistan to bring Osama bin Laden and his Hate Group either to catch and charge with the crimes. OR, if necessary kill them.

We cannot know how this approach would have been perceived by others who may also hate the US for failures in foreign policy going back to Truman.

We can ONLY do what we are capable to doing to support this effort. May we be blessed with peace in the entire Middle East.

Posted by: wilkestraphill | March 27, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Have you noticed that whenever right wing looneys are not doing much of anything else, beside attending their secret meetings, they end up as columnists at the Washington Post.

Posted by: kevin1231 | March 27, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse soon as I said that I noticed that another right wing loon, Tucker Carlson, has joined the Washington Post. The count keeps going up? I guess the right wingers dont have to worry about being unemployed..there is always room at the Washington Post.

Posted by: kevin1231 | March 27, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

OLDGEEK43: Think going to Afghanistan was capture or kill the Hate Group that slammed into the World Trade Center.

Iraq? Went because the VP, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle could NOT get Clinton to invade Iraq in the 1990's. He told them there was NO intelligence to do so.

The, by golly, no wonder Bush had a faint smile and a gleam in his eyes AFTER 9/11/01...NOW, he had what all of the neo-cons wanted: A lie gullible Americans would support.

Posted by: wilkestraphill | March 27, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Not gutsy it's Common Sense and with an educated President who knows the culture of the Middle East. For 8 years the US has had Leaders with no knowledge of the Middle East. Everyone even reporters were listening to Bush say he wanted the Middle East to be a Democracy like the US. Like dumb sheep everyone followed while the real reason for the Iraq invasion was oil. Now even the Media and Journalist are confussed by President Obama's decisions as he's smart and their not use to a President who is educated in Foreign Cultures. Soldiers came back and said exactly what President Obama is say yet no one listen to the soldiers. Yes the Generals did as the Bush Administration told them because of the success of the War Profiteering. Don't worry Obama will clean up the mess and then Republicans can put their Presidential candidate like Rush Limbaugh the drug addit, Eric ( Britney Spears ) Cantor and even Sarah ( I see Russia from my window ) Palin if she's not in jail by then. Maybe John McCain can run again at 76 years old even if he loses the Senate seat.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | March 27, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

A neoconservative's (2nd Generation)credo:

1. America is Number One!!
2. Without America's imperium (hegemony) the world would fall into disorder and direr things would occur.
3. Nothing succeeds like force. The world needs tough love.
4. American military uber alles! Don't give the enemy (i.e., anyone that doesn't recognize our hegemony)an inch.

Posted by: raymondw1 | March 28, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

'Why have REPUGS started every major War in the history of back the United States'

What a stupid and short minded comment or have you forgotten all the wars during the last century: WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam etc that the bastard Democraps have started? Idiot comments like this belong in the trashcan along with your lying leaders Dodd, Schumer, Boxer and Betty Frank!

Posted by: hookster1 | March 28, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Already two years ago I think Obama is an intelligent oportunist,
a blah - blah layer.
This his decision is the contrary of his decision against Iraq war.
But he is afraid to be liberal
so he do all things the conservatives want.
USA has never, never to search, nothing
neither in Iraq nor Afganistan nor in Pakistan.
When is the question where the terrost are coming
so is the answer Saudi Arabia,
but it has OIL.
Afgan people are for three decades fighted against invasors and
OBama is the last one.
Power corrupts a man.
Absolute power,
like Obama has it now, corrupts ABSOLUTE.

Posted by: joe_m321 | March 28, 2009 4:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree that we must act on Afghan terrorists. However this a serious problem that can not be dealt with half way measures. This is a very tough undertaking, and Obama better listen to his generals. He has no military experience and it's showing. We must take on this problem to end terrorism, but it will take total commitment. So far I don't see this total commitment. Halfway in won't cut it, ask Russia.

Posted by: rrdn96 | March 28, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

lcarter0311, what wonderful evidence you are of our failing schools...Republicans have started every war...Vietnam, WWII, WWI? Or perhaps you're talking about the Civil war that ended slavery, yes, guilty of that one.

And for the rest of you who think war is never an answer, what about the one that created America? Oh, yeah, you hate America...

Posted by: robert_c_gladstone | March 28, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Mr. President,

Clearly state and promulgate both an "end state" and "exit strategy" for the American people regarding Afghanistan.

Both statements should be short, succinct and to the point ...... no more than 60 words each.

Otherwise, we are looking at another Vietnam.

Posted by: furtdw | March 28, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I ought to save all these comments some place and read them again when I am down. What a come down for the smug.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 28, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"You can't win a war you haven't even defined."

I am not so sure, but I expect a person who ask "What is victory?" will not find it.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 28, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Afghanistan, the United States government ignored for the past eight years. It is a lost cause, whatever the reason, it is embedded in that middle east region. The people of Afghanistan do not trust the United States government, like many countries in the middle east. For this reason we should leave Afghanistan. If the United States become involved in a conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan, it will lead to never ending turmoil and the US will always be the loser. Lets face it! 911 happen because the United States government took sides in the middle east. Had United States government kept the United States neutral in the middle east 911 would have never happened. The United States lost its reason for being in this world. The United States, was to promote Peace and Freedom, not force nation to agree to it. If United States government keeps us on this path, it will destroy the United States and all it stands for. China and Russia the biggest players in the world events will be the winners. They are just sitting on the side lines and waiting. THEIR TIME IS NEAR AND THEY KNOW IT!!!

Posted by: jk330 | March 28, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

" No, our focus was never taken off Afghanistan...
Posted by: BeanerECMO | March 27, 2009 3:44 PM"
That statement shows you don't know Jack-Sh!t about foreign policy. Nearly every counterterrorism expert and military advisor will tell you that we are in the situation we are in Afghanistan because we diverted our attention away from the real war on terror by invading Iraq.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 28, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam etc that the bastard Democraps have started?"
So, you don't think any of those wars were justified?

Posted by: JRM2 | March 28, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Some are saying that Obama now 'owns' the Afghan war. We think that is premature. ............

Posted by: glclark4750 | March 28, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Don't these neocons have any shame? After their criminal incompetence in the last eight years I would have thought that they would be hiding under a rock somewhere, too mortified to show their faces in polite society. Mr Kagan, Obama does not need your patronizing clap trap.

Posted by: kabindra1 | March 28, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse


Either mention the subject of false flag terrorism or stop pretending to criticize Robert Kagan and the government.

Do not forget to mention the comment about narcotics. The drug war is the next biggest most barbaric charade, after the war on terror. Growing opium and manufacturing heroin is also legal in Afghanistan, and the US government profits from the trade.

Posted by: markoller | March 28, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Gutless wonders of the Pentagon,

I have a question for all of the generals and admirals stationed at the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001. Do you claim that a 757 really hit the Pentagon? You need to identify yourself, and don't just call yourself General Smith or Admiral Johnson.

Posted by: markoller | March 28, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

jk330 wrote: "Afghanistan, the United States government ignored for the past eight years. It is a lost cause, whatever the reason, it is embedded in that middle east region."

I see a lot of commentators on various articles about Afghanistan say or imply that it is in the Middle East.

Afghanistan is not in the Middle East, by any definition I have ever heard.

It's usually described as being in South Asia, like Pakistan and India.

Posted by: nodebris | March 29, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Obama's build-up is in response to the Afghan-Pakistan Al-Queda alliance which is a growing threat to the USA and Pakistan and the entire region. Hopefully, Obama's initiative will prevent these extreme elements from gaining further control & wreaking more local & international havoc . Bush's mistake was in reducing Afghanistan activities for the sake of the misguided and deceitful Iraq war.

Posted by: internetdem | March 29, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

What is wrong with American people? We get attacked on American soil and over 4,000 lives are lost and we go to the wrong war!!!!!

Now its time to go to the right war and too many are whining what is wrong with this president nananana.
Does everyone have ADHD???

Posted by: mac7 | March 29, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Icarter needs a history lesson. The ultimate Quagmire (Vietnam) was on the DEMS.Funny how you missed that.

Posted by: mgmargate | March 29, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Our ambassador to Iraq essentially gave Saddam Hussein a green light to invade Kuwait. Then, our government staged the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks as a pretext to invade Iraq. Finally, America tried and hanged one of Saddam Hussein's doubles, and pretended that the Iraqi people were responsible. The double might pass for Saddam Hussein's deformed twin, with crooked teeth and a severe overbite. Download and

Posted by: markoller | March 29, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I have 208 pages of comments on my Washington Post homepage, mostly dealing with the 'war on terror'. It is no longer possible to download it directly. I do not know if this is an attempt to suppress information, but you can download "Our Must-Win War" at

Then click "View All Comments," and click markoller and comments. Soon, you will begin to suspect that the "Matrix" is non-fiction.

Posted by: markoller | March 29, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Markoller's comments are stupid nonsense!!!!

Posted by: mgmargate | March 30, 2009 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Here comes the Obama SURGE.

Wow! It's sure to be much better than the Bush surge. We will win the hearts of the Islamo-psycho terrorists and none of our soldiers will die.

Obama is such a good guy.

Posted by: battleground51 | March 30, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

President Obama's new Afghanistan and Pakistan policy has very clear objectives , surprisingly it does not include an exit strategy promised earlier . The U.S. is depending on full participation of Pakistan in the Campaign . It completely ignores that Zardaris heads a weak government , which includes skeptics of U. S. policies for Pakistan . Pakistan's government support of the U. S. in the War on terrorism has never been popular with the people in Pakistan . President Obama stated plan's goal was : "to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future." I believe the Obama plan has very high expectations , since it includes not just a major increase in U.S. troops, but also an ambitious effort at nation-building in both Afghanistan and Pakistan . It is very difficult time for foreign , particularly U.S. personnel to operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan . It must include a new strategy and review of security system to have as free access as possible to the people and communities the must serve. I believe that to win hearts and minds of the severely War affected people , U.S . plan and funds should target on basic human needs projects . The priority areas should include FATA , Swat and both sides of the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan . We have to start and then expand resolution of the basic economic development issues at point zero of the Campaign on terrorism. Resolution of poverty and basic human needs will enable more the communities to stand up with the U .S. and against terrorism .

Posted by: dmfarooq | March 30, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama is an incompetent boob. He has lied to the American people at every turn. The only thing that has kept his approval numbers above subterranean level is the blind devotion of the "I hate Bush" crowd. Obama is in the process of bankrupting the nation, and carrying out his earlier devised plan to lose all military progress achieved thus far in the Middle East. When his term is up (one term only please) perhaps the U.S. citizenry will wake from their nightmare and choose someone with far less Charisma and far more actual leadership ability than Obama.

Posted by: jonweiss1 | March 31, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Gutsy decision????

After 7 years of complete failure to get bin Laden, Afghanistan is once again under the spell of the Taliban just waiting for bin Laden to re-establish a base of operations.

Thanks to the USSR and the USA Afghanistan has been at war for 30 years. It's doubtful many farmers are still alive or capable of working the land. Afghanistan has lost 1-2 generations farming knowledge thanks to war.

The only solution is economic development, the Afghan people can be trained to defend themselves while the U.S. teaches the people how to build roads, water supplies and most importantly how to farm and grow food crops instead of poppy.

Posted by: knjincvc | March 31, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: zero1 | March 27, 2009 1:53 PM
"I believe the Republicans have outsmarted the Democrats in branding the Afghanistan was as the 'Obama war'."

Afghanistan will always be known as cheney/bush's first great failure. To leave now is tantamount to turning the country back over to bin Laden.

cheney/bush achieved conservative republican's goal of bankrupting the country but failed the neo-con goal of permanent war.
No economy = no war


Posted by: knjincvc | March 31, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

He is going to end up inviting the Russians in and let them have the country with a big ribbon around it. He is a traitor or a fool. Take your pick.

Posted by: flyingtree | April 1, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I have been big admirer of Obama but i should admit that he is following almost the same line as the people before him. It has taken US more than 30 years to realize that they should have friendly ties with Iran so will it take another 30 years to realize that battles have given only hatered to humanity. One of the other things things which I fear is that US knowingly or unknowingly is deciding on taking the war into Pakistan. This is supported by the fact that there have been so many innocent casualties in the predator attacks that the hatered amongst the public is on the high. There has been an ongoing concern in Pakistan amongst the public that whole of this war is not meant to be against Afghanistan but the main aim is to effectively paralyze Pakistan. People will argue that US is giving Pakistan lots of AID but if only AID would help countries to be able to stand on their feet then countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan would have risen to the top. I want to stress the need for US and President Obama in particular to have mercy for the ordinary people. Make policies which unite people not divide them. The CHANGE which he promised to the world might be the resolution of issue with diaglogues not by power. The ppredator attacks lauched in the North of Pakistan have killed few terrorists but lots of innocent people as well so indirectly it is just adding fuel to fire.

Posted by: selfishguy_202 | April 2, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

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