What the Heck Are We Doing in Afghanistan?

Eugene Robinson says Obama's strategy is incoherent
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2012 1:13 PM CDT
In this Tuesday, March 27, 2012 photo US Marines board a military transport plane at Manas military base outside Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to be taken to Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/ Vladimir Voronin)

(Newser) – "Show of hands: Does anybody really understand the US policy in Afghanistan?" asks Eugene Robinson in his Washington Post column today. Because he sure doesn't, even after hearing Obama's speech from the war zone earlier this week. His big question: Why are we still there? We've taken out most of al-Qaeda's leadership—including, of course, bin Laden—wiped out its training camps, and dislodged the Taliban government. "That smells like victory to me."

Yet Americans are still dying over there, and will be until the end of 2014. Then they'll pull back, even though the counterinsurgency strategy they're pursuing needs decades to work. "If we're going to switch to counterterrorism in a couple of years, why not just make the switch now?" he asks. And even after we've pulled out, we've made a vast, expensive aid commitment through 2024. "Does this sound like nation-building to you? Because that's what it sounds like to me." Obama said his speech would outline how the US will end the war. "We're still waiting."

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