Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Obama Assessment, Year Two: Wars

A year ago I praised President Obama for winding down the wrong war in Iraq and pursuing the right war against Al Qaeda. A year later, he has made further progress in winding down the Iraq war. We should have nearly all American troops out of direct fighting by the end of this year, and will start reducing the gigantic cost of that war.

Al Qaeda was driven out of Afghanistan. They are pursuing their best defense, namely, hiding in terrain that is only partly controlled by our vital ally Pakistan. They know that a full-scale invasion of Pakistan would strengthen our enemies. We know it, too. Thus, we have been pursuing a very delicate war against Al Qaeda and their allies the Taliban. We probably cannot drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan. It is their country, even if most Afghans do not want them back in power. We can, though, defeat, capture, and kill Al Qaeda.

I am still very disappointed that Guantanamo and Bagram Airfield and other even more secret prisons still remain. There are secrets we have not been told, and cannot be told, about what goes on there. For my part, I think our torture of the prisoners has so screwed up any hope of prosecuting them that we are stuck with them for a long time.

Still, in war we are making things better, and not making things worse.

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