Back during the great Iraq debate of winter 2006-2007, one point I made was that by gambling on the “surge” we were also gambling on the total collapse of our strategy in Afghanistan. It’s a point Barack Obama also made. And then as he prepared to take over the government of the United States in the winter of 2008-2009 he basically went about implementing the kind of strategy that Iraq War critics had been urging two years earlier. But by the time that actually happened, I began to be beset by the nagging worry that two years later was too late; that our endeavor in Afghanistan had actually slipped below the horizon line of viability. And I know, especially as I’ve been doing some student-heavy speaking engagements this summer, that a lot of other progressives are worried about this too.
If you’re looking to be a bit cheered up about Obama’s Afghanistan strategy, then you couldn’t do much better than to read Peter Bergan’s new article in The Washington Monthly where he argues that success is more achievable than people realize and that Obama’s strategy is sound. I have some doubts about the Pakistan portion of his argument, but I find it pretty convincing.