Faith in Petraeus May Lead Obama Astray in Afghanistan

Could 'yes we can,' become dangerous optimism?
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2008 5:33 PM CST
Barack Obama has pledged to make Afghanistan a priority, but the complicated theater there has bogged down major powers before, Russ Hoyle points out.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President-elect Obama’s biggest decision in the war on terror is defining the nature and extent of the military commitment in Afghanistan, Russ Hoyle writes for the Daily Beast. While the US has Gen. David Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, there is no unified, coherent plan for battling the resurgent Taliban—a strategic vacuum that has led to piecemeal, bad-PR-generating raids into Pakistan.

The military establishment is divided on whether the Petraeus strategy can be successfully transplanted to Afghanistan—and the choice will ultimately be up to Obama. Petraeus would likely begin with a “surge” in Afghanistan, and the commitment would only grow. Will the “usually cautious” Obama, wonders Hoyle, be dazzled by Petraeus’ plan, and expand the war in a spell of disastrous, Bush-esque optimism?