America's ambassador to Afghanistan is standing up to the Pentagon's demands for more troops to fight the AfPak war.
Karl W. Eikenberry is urging his president to hold off on sending more troops until the wobbly government of Hamid Karzai demonstrates there's something worth salvaging in that country. Eikenberry's logic is that the corruption and mismanagement of the hapless government we've spent the past eight years propping up is undercutting our efforts, fueling the Taliban resurgence. In other words we're losing the fight with the Taliban while Karzai and his cabal of crooked warlords are busy stabbing us in the back. Ya think?
A statement released by the White House this afternoon suggests Obama is hearing Eikenberry's message:
"The President believes that we need to make clear to the Afghan government that our commitment is not open-ended. After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time."
Eikenberry is a retired four-star general who commanded forces in Afghanistan in 2006-7.
It's hard to imagine how Karzai is going to rid his government of corruption given that his government is built on corruption. He owes his very presidency to the warlords who rigged the last election in his favour.
Sorry Mr. Obama but Mr. Karzai is already bought and paid for and there's nothing that General Stanley McChrystal or even bigger General David Petraeus can or will do to set that straight. Going after Karzai & Company atop the Taliban and other rebel factions would put us at war with about 80% of the country.