Considering the fact that, "while the Obama administration says that the problems of the region cannot be solved by military means, the basic approach is reliance on heightened military means," FAIR associate Norman Solomon (Huffington Post, 3/24/09) thinks that "we desperately need a substantive national debate on U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Solomon notes that one attempt at such a debate, an open letter that "lays down a clear line of opposition to the rationales for stepping up the warfare," garnered signatures from only "14 members of the House (eight Democrats, six Republicans)." But the U.S. Congress looks positively enlightened when compared to its hometown paper:
One of several journalists in Afghanistan on a tour "organized by the staff of commanding Gen. David D. McKiernan," the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl, wrote a March 23 op-ed in support of an invigorated "counterinsurgency strategy." With journalistic resolve, he explained: "Everyone expects a surge of violence and American casualties this year; no one expects a decisive improvement in the situation for at least several years beyond that."
The commanding general, Diehl added, does not anticipate that the Afghan army "can defend the country on its own" until 2016. In effect, the message is to stay the course for another seven years: "The thousands of American soldiers and civilians pouring into the country deserve that strategic patience; without it, the sacrifices we will soon hear of will be wasted."
Solomon hears "chillingly familiar echoes" in "the perverse logic of escalating the war in Afghanistan. 'Strategic patience'–more and more war–will be necessary so that those who must die will not have died in vain."