- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems to be a given that President Obama will send about 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. So to me the three big questions are:
- What are we going to do about the corruption and abuses of the Afghan government, arguably a more troublesome foe than the Taliban?
- How does what we are doing relate to the security problems in Pakistan, to me a far bigger worry than anything happening in Afghanistan?
- Perhaps most importantly, is his heart in it, and can he bring along a good portion of the American people, especially part of his base? Or is he gonna say we’re giving it 12 months and then we’re outta here?
Tip from a friend: If he uses the phrase “exit strategy,” or dwells on the subject, then you’ll know you’re probably looking at a one-term president. In other words, file under “Jimmy Carter,” not “Abe Lincoln.”
Interesting note from a reader: “The guy I would like to hear from on this is Petraeus. I would love to hear him look Congress and the American people in the eye and say, ‘I think this can work.’ I haven’t heard much from him lately.” Where have you gone, Dave Petraeus? A nation turns it worried eyes to you.
I discussed this on NPR on Saturday, but you don’t need to listen because you just read what I had to say.