The Wise Men Start Rethinking Afghanistan
Via Marc Lynch’s Twitter feed, Lee Hamilton — 9/11 Commissioner, Iraq Study Grouper, former Indiana Congressman, all-around wise man — asks some very fundamental questions about the Afghanistan war:
Strategically, there are two broad and fundamental questions to be answered. First, how will our departure impact our regional and security interests over the next decade and longer? And second, is this type of war really the best use of American power and resources in today’s world?
Unfortunately, that’s the end of Hamilton’s op-ed, which, if anything, signifies that establishment foreign policy is starting to become comfortable throwing those questions out but isn’t yet comfortable offering answers. But still. Hamilton isn’t just any greybeard, he’s one President Obama respects and listens to, as one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisers, Ben Rhodes, worked for Hamilton for years. Hamilton endorsed Obama at a critical period in the primaries. Just before Obama’s inauguration, Hamilton hosted a dinner for him with a number of foreign-policy luminaries. Michael Cohen is right to see something changing.
On Wednesday morning, Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, will be bringing his whole interagency crew to talk at the Center for American Progress. That should be a good tableau for presenting — and perhaps addressing — progressive agita over the state of the Afghanistan war.