Kevin Drum comments on Hamid Karzai’s evident loss of faith in the NATO mission in Afghanistan:
From the U.S. point of view, of course, they key thing isn’t whether Karzai is tired or delusional or getting bad advice. What really matters is that over the past year he’s apparently come to the firm conclusion that a continued U.S. presence is unhelpful. This pretty plainly makes our military efforts in Afghanistan pointless. As Gen. Petraeus and his counterinsurgency gurus continually tell us, political support is crucial to eventual success. If we don’t have it — and it’s now about as clear as it can be that we don’t — then all the Lisbon conferences in the world won’t produce a plan for victory. It’s about time for Barack Obama to start leveling with the American public about this.
Well . . . that’d be nice, but when last we saw General Petraeus was moving US military tactics away from that kind of counterinsurgency model in favor of more use of firepower. And on some level I think the way this works is that “counterinsurgency” means whatever Petraeus and his proteges say it means. What’s more, if the US government decides Karzai’s attitude makes continuing the war impossible they might just as easily decide to get rid of Karzai as decide to end the war. I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that, but all the signs from the administration are that they’re absolutely determined to give this thing a few more years worth of time and all their other decisions seem to flow from that.