Thomas Friedman's editorial in the New York Times (Sunday 9.13) explores the challenge that President Obama and Congress (and ultimately the American people) are facing in Afghanistan. His essential point is that our policy there needs to "match the sacrifice" of our soldiers and their families. His editorial raises several pertinent questions:
1. What exactly are our objectives in Afghanistan? Essentially nations have 3 objectives in the conduct of their foreign policy: national security, economic prosperty, and various ideological goals (i.e. the spread of liberty and democracy). Which of those are uppermost in this conflict?
2. Should the United States go to war anywhere without asking the public to sacrifice -- as in, to pay for the conflict with tax increases? It seems that the "war on terror" has been conducted without people feeling the direct impact, unless they have family members serving in the military.
3. How does political linkage play into all of this? For example, some on the left-wing are calling for withdrawal, while some on the right favor escalation. How will the President resolve that collision as he navigates the health care debate in the next couple of months? Decision-making is never made in a vacuum and his position seems incredibly complex at this point.
Here is the link to the Friedman editorial mentioned above: