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First Afghan-Legitimacy Question Resolved, Then a Strategy/Resource Decision

Apparently Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) remarks to CNN about waiting until the Afghan election is sorted out before committing more U.S. troops was Obama administration liturgy. The New York Times pieces together White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s Sunday-show comments and concludes the administration will wait on the outcome of the election before making any decision. “It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if, in fact, you haven’t done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country,” [Emanuel told CNN](It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if, in fact, you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there's an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country).

That fits in with what the administration has been saying about the fraudulent election providing a reason to revisit strategy. Counterinsurgency is predicated on governmental legitimacy, and while some counterinsurgents have come up with work-arounds, a president seen as illegitimate provides good reason to doubt the enterprise. At the moment, Hamid Karzai may accept a runoff election with challenger Abdullah Abdullah if an Afghan election commission invalidates enough ballots to prompt one. Or he may not! The emerging linkage between governmental legitimacy and a decision on sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan is unsubtle pressure on Karzai to back away from his election fraud.

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