Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It seems like the best suggestion in the debate over the Iraq surge comes from Hillary Clinton:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumed Democratic front-runner, called on Tuesday for the United States to cap its troop level in Iraq at the number present in the country on Jan. 1, but also to send more American forces to Afghanistan.

Just back from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, Senator Clinton said that the administration had “frankly failed” in its dealings with the Iraqi government. Instead, she said, “Let’s focus on Afghanistan and get it right.”

With Taliban forces in Afghanistan expected to mount a major offensive soon, she said that “this spring is a make-or-break time” for the U.S. and other foreign forces there.
It has been clear for a while now that continued US military presence in Iraq is not accomplishing much. Moreover, ``success'' in Iraq - defined as the establishment of a stable, tolerant democracy - is at best elusive. Afghanistan, on the other hand, differs in a number of ways. It already has a working democracy; unlike Iraq, it is actually important to the war on terror; and, most importantly, the overwhelming majority of Afghanis want US troops in Afghanistan:
Five years after the fall of the Taliban, public optimism has declined sharply across Afghanistan, pushed by a host of fresh difficulties: Worsening security, rising concerns about a resurgent Taliban, troubled development efforts, widespread perceptions of corruption and reduced faith in the government's effectiveness in facing these challenges.

The U.S.-led invasion remains highly popular, the Taliban intensely unpopular...

Most Afghans — 57 percent — now call the Taliban the single greatest danger to their country...Compared to a year ago, this poll finds deterioration in a range of public perceptions about the country's condition: a 22-point drop in views that it's headed in the right direction, a 17-point drop in the belief security has improved since the Taliban was in control and a 13-point drop in personal optimism for the year ahead....Some of these ratings, to be fair, have fallen from probably unsustainable levels. Sixty-eight percent approve of Karzai's work — down from 83 percent last year, but still a level most national leaders would envy. Fifty-nine percent think the parliament is working for the benefit of the Afghan people, down from 77 percent but still far better than American approval ratings of the U.S. Congress....

...big majorities continue to call the U.S.-led invasion a good thing for their country (88 percent), to express a favorable opinion of the United States (74 percent) and to prefer the current Afghan government to Taliban rule (88 percent)...Indeed eight in 10 Afghans support the presence of U.S., British and other international forces on their soil; that compares with 5 percent support for Taliban fighters and 11 percent for jihadi fighters from other countries.


Post a Comment

<< Home