Since last summer, President Obama has publicly doubted whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai's corruption and incompetence make him a fit partner for our policy goals in Afghanistan. Now, according to Saturday's New York Times:
"Mr. Karzai (has) lost faith in the Americans and NATO to prevail in Afghanistan."
Regretfully, both presidents are correct. Neither of them has a national partner in whom he can place any reasonable confidence. The two governments cannot agree on a common fighting strategy. Nor can those facts be materially changed in time to make a difference, given President Obama's firm commitment to start withdrawing troops no later than the middle of next year.
The current price for staying is approximately one American troop fatality a day (plus several wounded and an undisclosed number of killed and wounded American contract employees). British troops are being killed at the same rate proportional to their troop level. The fatality rate for the remainder of NATO forces (proportionally) is about one-fifth the Anglo-American level of sacrifice.
As these truths become more broadly understood and accepted, I think more Americans -- Republicans and Democrats, hawks and doves, liberals and conservatives -- will come around to the lamentable conclusion that a continued, substantial U.S. militarily presence in Afghanistan will do no good for the United States or the long-suffering people of Afghanistan.
As the New York Times article Saturday went on to observe regarding Mr. Karzai's state of mind:
"People close to (Karzai) say he began to lose confidence in the Americans last summer, after national elections in which independent monitors determined that nearly one million ballots had been stolen on Mr. Karzai's behalf. The rift worsened in December, when President Obama announced that he intended to begin reducing the number of American troops by the summer of 2011. 'Karzai told me that he can't trust the Americans to fix the situation here,' said a Western diplomat in Kabul. ... He believes they stole his legitimacy during the elections last year. And then they said publicly that they were going to leave."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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