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Winning the War in Afghanistan

12:13 PM, Feb 9, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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On Saturday, Max Boot wrote in the LA Times that we're now hearing many of the critics of the Iraq war apply the same arguments for withdrawal--it's a quagmire; democracy won't work; more troops won't help, etc.--to Afghanistan. On Sunday, Richard C. Holbrooke, the State Department's envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, seemed to advance the 'we can't win in Afghanistan' narrative, saying at the Munich Security Conference that the situation in Afghanistan is "much tougher than Iraq." Jules Crittenden points out that two years ago Holbrooke said that the situation in Iraq was "worse than it ever was in Vietnam."

"You know, if someone would just point that out to the Euros, they might be more enthusiastic about pitching in," writes Crittenden. "'Afghanistan's worse than Iraq, which was worse than Vietnam! Should be done by Christmas!'"

At the very least, it seems that some in the Obama administration are trying to lower expectations, if not pave the way for a withdrawal. Over at National Review Online, Frederick Kagan argues against the temptation to cut and run and identifies the principles that should guide the right approach to Afghanistan.