Afghanistan: The War Obama Now Owns.
Globe & Mail
Mr. Obama's troop-surge-in-all-but-name attempts to duplicate the success of Iraq in Afghanistan, bearing in mind that they are two very different countries, and that the challenges in Afghanistan in many ways are more formidable: a difficult terrain, few natural resources, opium rather than oil, a history of chronic internal strife.
Equally important, Mr. Obama's war is the first, and will doubtless prove to be the biggest, test of the new President's commitment to multilateralism. Success depends on the co-operation of others: persuading India to ease tensions with Pakistan so that the Pakistan military can shift troops from its eastern border to fight in the west against the Taliban; getting Russia and China and Iran to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem; keeping America's NATO allies committed to the cause, even as the United States assumes greater responsibility for that cause.
Ironically, the President is employing in this war the lessons Mr. Bush learned in Iraq: flood the zone with troops; concentrate on building up the local military and police; invest heavily in the infrastructure of government and civil society.
Mr. Obama now owns this war. The American people and the world will judge him on how he runs it.
15 Democrat & Republican representatives are already opposing the war. That sounds familiar!
Hope and Change.... My Ass!
Obama's Stronger, Smarter War
There is little new in the plan at the strategic level, the president's rhetoric notwithstanding. Compare his approach to the “Five Pillars” of the 2004 Afghan counterinsurgency strategy — defeat terrorism; enable the Afghan security structure; sustain area ownership; enable reconstruction and good governance; and engage regional states. Mr. Obama may employ slightly different language, but the strategic concepts are the same.
But President Bush gets credit for the most significant strategic shift when he authorized expanded Predator strikes against terror targets inside Pakistan in August 2008. Since then, nine of the top 20 al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan have been killed, almost half the command group.