The most effective way to critically disable the Taliban is to drastically reduce their income and delegitimize them among local populations. What has not been achieved on the battlefield may yet be accomplished in the marketplace.
A small group of Pentagon and USAID officials and American geologists may have found the biggest single solution to permanently transforming Afghanistan's economy and winning the struggle against Taliban.
Our only realistic choice in Afghanistan is serious rural development -- that is, reconstructing the Afghan countryside through countless small-scale projects until food crops become a viable alternative to opium.
Bush and McCain had barely completed even one Iraq victory lap singing hosannas to the surge when they were obliged to begin thinking and talking about how they're going to shore up a failing policy in Afghanistan.