Advancing a Free Society

The President finally leads the war effort

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's been an alarming few weeks for the Afghan war: American servicemembers videotaped disrespecting Afghan corpses, coalition forces assassinated by Afghan National Security Forces, American servicemembers burning Quran provoking deadly Afghan riots, an American shamefully killing Afghan civilians, and President Karzai demanding Coalition forces be confined to bases. Given all these events, Americans can be forgiven for doubting we are making any progress in the war effort, or that the mission in Afghanistan is worth what we are paying for it in lives, effort, and money. Which makes it all the more meritorious that President Obama and his national security team have not used these events to rush for the exits.  It is easy to imagine the president reprising his Iraq end game: summoning a stentorian tone and explaining that we can't want this more than Afghans do, that the time has come to give Afghans the opportunity to determine their own future, etc. Thankfully, he did not. Because the mission in Afghanistan really does matter, and difficult as it is, remains worth the effort. The United States and its allies went to war in Afghanistan not simply to retaliate for an attack on our own country, but to ensure the territory of Afghanistan ceased to be a terrorist training ground and operating base. Our military operations have forced al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations to focus on their survival, which diminishes their attention to plotting, training for, and conducting attacks. There should be no doubt that the objectives of these groups remain deadly and directed at us. Continue reading Kori Schake…

(photo credit: White House photo by Pete Souza)