With the clock ticking down on removing most combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014, there are no official negotiations going on between the United States and the Taliban, nor does there seem to be any strategy for how to bring them about.
As with Vietnam, negotiations might buy a little time for the government we leave behind, but we have the small consolation that we're separating from the worst partnership we've ever had. And like North Vietnam, the Taliban are unlikely to pose a threat to our security once we've left.
The twist of the latest CIA cash scandal is not the CIA is handing over wads of U.S. bills to a corrupt president. It is that the CIA has continued to hand over cash for so long, which is not merely unethical but now antithetical to the U.S. government's stated policy goals.
Taliban resurgence could immediately undo any improvements made under U.S. occupation, as could economic collapse, civil war and regional instability.
Congress' plummeting interest in spending generally, and in Afghanistan specifically, threatens to scuttle any ongoing relationship between the two countries.
Any summary a reviewer could offer would be the merest potted version of what took the author years of research to stitch together, so I prefer to urge you to read the book itself.
Between 2005 and 2007, when American combat forces in Afghanistan doubled, the Pentagon's budget for the Afghan War leaped from $17.2 billion to $34.9 billion annually. In this period, opportunities for corruption rose exponentially.
Once again, the United States has officially handed over the keys to the Bagram detention center to the Afghans. Only just as with the previous agreement to do exactly the same thing, the U.S. military will actually not be handing over all of the detainees in its control.
What are the real threats facing the Afghan people as we approach 2014, when international military troops withdraw to their bases or leave the country -- and responsibility for security rests wholly with Afghanistan?
It is a little late to be attempting to change his image as "America's Man." We find ourselves wondering why he would be trying to do so in the first place. His legacy is clear to all. No pandering to domestic political interests is going to change that.
If only the actual drone program, and the strategic thinking that underlies it, were to undergo the same sort of review as a little contraption of cloth and medal.
Twelve years later, the mission is very different in Afghanistan, and the threats have metastasized like a cancer.
As long as Hindu battles Muslim, Muslim persecutes Christian, and Islamic sects are willing to slaughter each other, there is nothing the United States can do to help establish anything worthwhile that will last. It will have to come from within.
An astute political animal, Karzai recognizes that the Afghan public long ago soured on the American military presence. And he calculates that assailing the foreigners is his best ticket to shoring up the legitimacy of his regime.
Now that the president has met Hamid Karzai concerning our future in Afghanistan, he will meet with his advisers to determine the level of U.S. involvement after the withdrawal of our main combat force. How many troops should we leave behind? The answer is simple: none.