Monday, July 14, 2008

Dangerous Ground: Updated

The buzz today is about Obama's Op-Ed piece in the New York Times on his plan for Iraq, which strategy entails some fancy footwork around his earlier positions, despite his protestations to the contrary. The media, however, has zeroed in, and rightly so, on a sentence buried in the discussion of the greater Iraq strategy in which the wouldbe president announces that he would send two additional brigades to Afghanistan.

The hair on the back of my neck rises. Is Obama here attempting to establish his willingness to use force in order to compensate for a perceived weakness on national defense? I suspect Hillary would not have found herself in this position. But it is not an unusual one for a Democrat. It is, however, dangerous. History has long taught that military supremacy is not a formula for success in Afghanistan, as both the British and the Russians learned the hard way. I would suggest that before we become involved in a situation that could well make Iraq look like a picnic, we think long and hard. Would it not make more sense to truly turn our attention to improving the lives of Afghanis?

Obama is correct that we need to pay more attention to Afghanistan. I'm just not at all sure more military is the way to go, and I fear that he may well feel the need to prove himself to our national detriment.

Update: Say it ain't so, Mac. Not to be outdone by his rival, McCain pledges to send three more brigades to Afghanistan. Everything I wrote still stands. Seizing on the lesson of Iraq should not entail forgetting earlier conflicts.

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