It’s in red, and appears after the jump. From “The War in Afghanistan … and Haggling“, Andrew Exum, Abu Muqawama (of the Center for a New American Security), 23 August 2009 — Excerpt:
Last week, I flew to Boston to give a talk on Afghanistan to a collection of senior-level government officials from the United States and abroad as part of the Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program. All credit goes to the excellent audience — which happily agreed to listen to a talk on strategy and operations from a 31-year old and peppered me with some great, thought-provoking questions. But without a doubt the most persistent questions I received were along the lines of “What are we doing in Afghanistan and why are we there in the first place?”
The fact that these are the questions that I am now receiving from career public servants in our nation’s departments and agencies should be a huge warning bell for the administration. And it means that Kagan is exactly right — this is now Obama’s war, and he and Stan McChrystal need to explain to the American people in non-IR-speak why we are in Afghanistan and what we are doing there. (Hint: if you cannot explain your policy to folks in the 3rd Congressional District of Tennessee in a way they can understand it, you might need to change your policy.)
As one career public servant explained to me afterwards, “It’s not like we do not support the war in Afghanistan — it’s just that no one has explained what we’re doing there.“
Question of the day: does Exum see the insanity of this statement?
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To see all posts about our new wars:
Some posts about the war in Afghanistan:
- Why are we are fighting in Afghanistan?, 9 April 2008 — A debate with Joshua Foust.
- Stratfor: “The Strategic Debate Over Afghanistan”, 13 May 2009
- Real experts review a presentation about the War (look here, if you’re looking for well-written analysis!), 21 June 2009
- The Big Lie at work in Afghanistan – an open discussion, 23 June 2009
- “War without end”, a great article by George Wilson, 27 June 2009
- “Strategic Calculus and the Afghan War” by George Friedman of Stratfor, 17 July 2009
- Powerful insights about our war in Afghanistan, part 1, 18 July 2009
- We are warned about Afghanistan, but choose not to listen (part 2), 19 July 2009
- Powerful insights about our war in Afghanistan, part 3, 20 July 2009
- You can end our war in Afghanistan, 20 August 2009