Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Rory Stewart on Afghanistan -- Read This Now

I count myself among the Bush “haters” who opposed the tragic Iraq adventure long before it became a full-fledged fiasco. I’m hoping that Afghanistan will not turn me into an Obama “hater.” Right now things are not looking good. Obama has options. He should listen and act on the ideas and analysis of Rory Stewart. GO HERE

If you’re having trouble getting your mind around the quandry that is of our making in Afghanistan–-if we leave the Taliban will wreak havoc, if we stay we will wreak havoc–-read this short essay by Rory Stewart. It is simply the best thing yet written on the subject. Print it out and shove it anyone’s face who thinks we have no alternatives in Afghanistan.

Rory Stewart’s voice is just about the only voice of authority, experience and honesty currently getting “out there” that speaks against the madness of our policy in Afghanistan. Here’s a profile/interview from the Financial Times on the man today. As is always the case, making sense and getting those in power to act on that sense are two very different things.

GO HERE

On the day we meet, the New York Times reports that it looks as if Obama’s policy of increasing troops in Afghanistan will work. Stewart has a different take. “The policy of troop increases will look ridiculous in 30 years,” he says. “They’re not going to make America safer from al-Qaeda. The theory of state-building is suspect. I’m not sure that the state they aim for is conceivable, let alone achievable. We should be pursuing a much more conventional development strategy in Afghanistan. And, if you want to combine that with a Special Forces unit that would make things uncomfortable for Osama bin Laden, then so be it.” He sighs. “But you can’t say that sort of thing to the policymakers. They’re grand, intelligent, busy people who have no interest in this kind of abstraction. They’re not interested in values, virtue, outlook ... ” He pushes away a barely touched plate of mussels.

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