Brooks: Listen to McChrystal

President Obama must dismiss 'graveyard of empires' remarks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 9:12 AM CDT
US soldiers brace themselves as a helicopter lands at their combat outpost in the Jalrez Valley in Afghanistan's Wardak Province.   (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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(Newser) – Talk to people who have a superficial sense of Afghanistan, and you'll hear the same thing: It's a "graveyard of empires," and the US needs to get out. Genuine experts, people who live there, dismiss the stereotype as "rubbish" and take a more "guardedly optimistic" view. President Obama should listen to them and put Gen. Stanley McChrystal's nuanced counterinsurgency strategy into effect, David Brooks writes.

It's not an easy call, but Obama himself was correct when he called this a "war of necessity," writes Brooks in the New York Times. A few things work in favor of the US: Its troops have become "quite good at counterinsurgency" and now have a "superb leadership team," the Taliban is "wildly hated" in Afghanistan," and the nation's institutions, while still "dysfunctional" in many ways, provide a base. Obama's right to take his time, but the stakes are too important to abandon the fight.