Afghanistan war: Is the US in it to win it?

By Kurt Volker
Tuesday, 28 September 28 2010

America’s engagement in Afghanistan remains vital. Now is the time to renew our resolve and pursue our broad-based strategy, not look for an exit.

Washington – When Gen. David Petraeus assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, he delivered exactly the right message: “We are in this to win.”

Surely, that message was welcomed by Afghan women who fear subjugation; by parents who fear seeing their daughters sprayed with acid for attending school; by decent people trying to build a future, but who fear retribution for being “collaborators” should the Taliban return.

Washington is thinking about an exit

Yet the general’s message – “we are in this to win” – is not something one often hears in Washington these days. Much of the Beltway crowd is absorbed by Bob Woodward’s new book that highlights the policy and personnel disputes among the war’s main players. And most of the public debate seems aimed at justifying a reduction in America’s engagement, rather than affirming our resolve, our long-term commitment, and our willingness to pursue our strategy to success. With an American public angry over the economy, jobs, deficits, and a tone-deaf Washington, the congressional midterm elections could become a tipping point.

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