Presumptuous to tell Barack Obama to think twice, but this is not alright.
Here is the New York Times crack military reporter Michael Gordon essentially broadcasting to the world what is being planned.
American intelligence reports underscore the seriousness of the threat. From August through October, the average number of daily attacks by insurgents exceeded those in Iraq, the first time the violence in Afghanistan had outpaced the fighting in Iraq since the start of the American occupation in May 2003. Almost half of the insurgents' attacks were directed against American and other foreign forces, while the remainder were focused on Afghan security forces and civilians.
The entire Gordon piece has the air of a fait accompli.
And as Gary Kamiya notes in Salon:
Obama's proposal to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan, though qualified by his greater emphasis on rebuilding the country, seems to indicate that he believes the Taliban can be defeated militarily. This is a recipe for failure: As former British Foreign Service officer Rory Stewart noted in the New York Times, the U.S. military buildup in Afghanistan has inflamed the Taliban resistance and made the situation worse. In a recent interview on "60 Minutes," Obama said he would make capturing or killing bin Laden a top priority, and he has threatened to strike terrorist targets inside Pakistan if the Pakistan government proved unwilling or unable to do so.
Killing or capturing bin Laden is obviously desirable. But as Mideast expert and Salon contributor Juan Cole has pointed out, achieving that goal may come at too high a price. A major U.S. military campaign in the tribal agencies on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where bin Laden is thought to be hiding, would anger Pakistanis and weaken the Pakistan government. It's not clear this is an acceptable trade-off.
Barack made many references to carrots and sticks while arguing for a more robust diplomacy. Sadly, if the Gordon report is indicative, the window for a real debate leading to alternatives to an extended military event in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) is only open a crack.
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