Charles Krauthammer

     Outsourced? The entire Afghan War was outsourced. How does Kerry think we won it? How did Mazar-e Sharif, Kabul and Kandahar fall? Stormed by thousands of American GIs? They fell to the ``warlords'' we had enlisted, supported and directed. It was their militias that overran the Taliban.

     ``Outsourcing'' is a demagogue's way of saying ``using allies.'' (Isn't Kerry's Iraq solution to ``outsource'' the problem to the ``allies'' and the United Nations?) And in Afghanistan it meant the very best allies: locals who had a far better chance of knowing what cave to storm without getting blown up. As Kerry himself said on national television at the time of Tora Bora (Dec. 14, 2001): ``What we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will'' -- i.e., not throwing American lives away in tunnels and caves in alien territory. ``I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way.''

     Now, as always, the retroactive military genius says he would have done it differently. Yet in the same interview, asked about how things were going overall in Afghanistan, he said ``I think we have been smart, I think the administration leadership has done it well and we are on the right track.''

     Once again, the senator's position has evolved, to borrow The New York Times' delicate term for Kerry's many about-faces.

     This election comes down to a choice between one man's evolution and the other man's resolution. With his endlessly repeated Tora Bora charges, Kerry has made Afghanistan a major campaign issue. So be it. Who do you want as president? The man who conceived the Afghan campaign, carried it through without flinching when it was being called a ``quagmire'' during its second week, and has seen it through to Afghanistan's transition to democracy? Or the retroactive genius, who always knows what needs to be done after it has already happened -- who would have done ``everything'' differently in Iraq, yet in Afghanistan would have replicated Bush's every correct, courageous, radical and risky decision -- except one. Which, of course, he would have done differently. He says. Now.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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