There's a Congressionally funded institute called the U.S. Institute of Peace. It's not a Dennis Kucinich Department of Peace replacing the Pentagon thing -- it's essentially a think tank, an independent, publicly funded, nonpartisan institution that Congress founded in 1984 to work on resolving conflicts, preventing wars, promoting stability after wars, and stuff like that. Good idea, right? We could use that kind of thinking right about now! Well the U.S. Institute of Peace just issued a new report called "The Future of Afghanistan." It is a chilling indictment of the Bush Administration's conduct of that war. They delivered the report today at a conference that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen conveniently pulled out of, but the man now in charge of both the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war, did not duck out and was there to hear it.
The report accuses the president of seven years of short-term thinking, a lack of any coherent strategy, and says he did not commit the soldiers, funds or political attention to win the war. The report's main editor told the Associated Press, "The Bush administration has had all but eight months of its entire tenure to stabilize Afghanistan and here it is January and one of the top foreign policy priorities for the Obama administration is to stabilize Afghanistan."
The common wisdom on Afghanistan from President-elect Barack Obama to Staying-on Defense Secretary Gates and on down the line is that more troops are the answer. Democrats and Republicans all together now: Iraq war, bad. Afghanistan war, good. Pour in more troops and ... all better real quick! Definitely not a Soviet-style empire-ending quagmire!
The more experts I talk to about Afghanistan, the more I realize that common wisdom might be... becoming less common. That maybe there isn't a consensus about what to do in Afghanistan. Maybe there is no good war here...