I love Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I enjoyed the hospitality of both tribesman and villagers in 1996 and 1997.
So, it's saddens me to say that I feel we have missed our moment in spearheading a successful military mission in Afghanistan -- at least at this time. I support the president and I know he'll do what he can, but I'm sure Obama will discover quickly (if he doesn't already know) that Americans are the last ones who should be heading any military action, ground or air, into Afghanistan.
Post 9/11 we had the blessing of the world to root out the Taliban and bring stability to a region that was, and is, in desperate need of reconciliation with its neighbors and the international community. But we wasted that opportunity and now the majority of Afghans and Pakistanis, are wary, if not resistant to U.S. intervention -- even those (and there are many) who abhor the idea of Taliban rule.
In my opinion, for there to be any chance of success in Central Asia, the rehabilitation of Afghanistan and Pakistan should come from within the larger, more moderate Islamic community. Our new president would best serve the cause of counter-terrorism there by throwing his support behind more neutral western forces.
A 2009 intervention is necessary, and the inevitable transformation of that region, can happen, but not with an American face. Not at this moment in history.