Leave it to Michael Steele to get me to start writing a coherent blog post again. Here’s what I wrote after Barack’s speech announcing the escalation in Afghanistan.
The most important takeaway for me is that next summer will be the hottest in Afghanistan since the war began. The new troops will all have arrived, and a spring offensive will certainly be coming from the Taliban. That means this strategy will succeed or fail by the end of 2010.
I expect it will succeed.
We have arrived at “next summer” and June was the deadliest month in the entire Afghan war. We also have a change in command, and a whole bunch of newly minted GOP cut and runners, led by Michael Steele. Every bit of this has been predictable, even the cynical switch of the Republican opportunists, sensing political advantage so acutely they’ve now become the “surrender monkeys” they’ve spent entire careers pretending to never countenance. So typical.
What’s it all mean? It means that we are on our way out of Afghanistan in June 2011, as Barack Obama said we would be in his announcement of this policy, and as Joe Biden has repeated as recently as yesterday. It means that we will either succeed in this strategy and leave, or declare that we’ve succeeded and leave anyway.
Ten years will have been enough. Enough to prove to the American people without a hint of doubt that Republican dogma on foreign policy is a total failure, just as Republican dogma on economic policy has been a total failure. You cannot explain why Afghanistan took us 10, years, longer than even Vietnam, without explaining Iraq and George W. Bush. And you can’t explain Iraq & George W. Bush without proving at every turn the total incompetence of Republican foreign policy.
The good news is that we are at the point where success or failure will likely be decided for the history books, and that Barack Obama is the president at this juncture, not John McCain. That’s the good news. The bad news is that how this all turns out won’t be decided for a while, probably the end of this year, maybe longer.
But we knew all that already.