It is beyond my abilities to put into this narrative all of the ways in which I have distaste for the conservative punditocracy. It does not however make what George Will opines in his column this morning wrong. He is in fact correct. He knows it, and they will use it.
As a kid I watched the Soviet machine flail and flail and eventually give up expansion into Afghanistan. As an adult, I have watched the Taliban rule the country in horror. Now, we watch as our troops fight and die each day in an ever longer shot to rebuild the country. I can only say enough is enough.
Forget capturing Bin Ladin, stabilizing the region, or whatever other excuses we use. The war in Afghanistan does not appear to be winnable. It is a tragedy in every way, and it sickens me greatly. However, I must agree with the premise that it appears that we must get out. And soon.
The war in Afghanistan is not popular. It is not going to end well. Not one person I have spoken with over the past few months even believes the Taliban will stay away from power after the action is complete.
The U.S. strategy is "clear, hold and build." Clear? Taliban forces can evaporate and then return, confident that U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains. Hence nation-building would be impossible even if we knew how, and even if Afghanistan were not the second-worst place to try: The Brookings Institution ranks Somalia as the only nation with a weaker state.
With increased troop levels comes the promise of short term gain, but with the US in a massive economic crisis, and a four year election cycle, do we really have the stomach to invest the resources necessary to re-build the country. I don't think so.
Will's statements should not come as a surprise. He clearly (at times weakly) supported the Neo-Cons during the last eight years out of political expedience. He, like most "traditional" conservatives shies away from US military involvement abroad and prefers a strong center, and defined nationalism. So, with an Obama presidency continuing or even expanding the Bush policies in Afghanistan, Will sees a clear opportunity to draw folks back in to the traditional republican tent.
History has a bizarre way of continually repeating itself. Barack Obama is an astute student of history, and should see that sadly he must shift course in Afghanistan now, before the conservatives make it their cause celebre.
Now, before we lament the first term of President Romney.