DC Cabbies on Afghanistan

DC Cabbies on Afghanistan - Lydia Khalil, Washington Post opinion.

... And herein lies the lesson for the Obama administration: decide already. No matter how many more opinions you seek, they will be contrasting and conflicting. There is no hidden oracle within the Beltway or beyond that will provide the answer. No doubt, this is a difficult decision, and its effects are far-reaching. The ultimate strategy for Afghanistan has ramifications beyond our diplomatic and military strategy for the region. The decision whether or not to go forward with Gen. Stanley McChrystal's recommendations will cement whether or not counterinsurgency will be the prevailing military doctrine for years to come. How much the US focuses on institutional reform, governance and infrastructure as part of any new strategy will answer once and for all whether the United States has the stomach or the capability to engage in modern-day nation building.

The outcome in Afghanistan will also affect Washington's standing vis a vis its international rival, Iran, just as it presents some unsettling implications for nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India. And once the United States commits itself to a cause and backs away from that commitment, as some have suggested we do in Afghanistan by scaling back our presence and constricting our goals, it is jeopardizing its ability to intervene in future conflicts should the need arise. Just take a look at Somalia...

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I, for one, applaud the Post for killing two birds with one stone. The author/contestant is a "specialist on the Middle East and international security at the Council on Foreign Relations" - so not only are cabbies getting a chance to air their views, but finally we get to hear from someone at a think tank on this whole Afghanistan mess.

I frequent an Afghan kebab restaurant. The owner recently pointed out to me that Pashtuns don't like foreigners on their lands. The Sikh cabbie who drive me to that restaurant recently noted that India should just nuke Pakistan and get it over with.

Maybe I can get a Washington Post column now, too.