Obama's Afghan Plan Won't Please Anybody
Which means that the president may have gotten it right
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 6:32 AM CST
A US Marine exits a small doorway in a mud house, during a patrol in an area frequented by Taliban militants, in Nawa district, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – President Obama has assembled parts of different Afghanistan strategies into a whole that looks certain to displease just about everybody when it is unveiled tonight, writes David Brooks. The administration appears to have pulled back from its earlier enthusiasm for a comprehensive counterinsurgency—COIN—plan in favor of COIN-lite, Brooks writes in the New York Times.

Many experts argue that an effective counterinsurgency strategy requires the full package of nation-building, but the cost and commitment required in Afghanistan is no longer viable, Brooks writes, especially with less-than-stellar "governing talent' and a Karzai administration that's "like an organized crime ring." Obama has come up with the hybrid strategy under "a devilish set of constraints," Brooks writes. "It may not be the complete COIN strategy, which offers the best chance of success," he concludes. "But it may be the best strategy under the circumstances."