Root Causes

October 29, 2009

We've got to figure out what our aims are in Afghanistan before we talk strategy.

by Andrew J. Bacevich

The "strategic" debate over Afghanistan is a diversion that serves chiefly to distract attention from the condition of strategic bankruptcy that President Obama inherited. The issues in Afghanistan do not qualify as strategic. They barely rise to the level of operational. To the extent that the war in Afghanistan can claim to have any purpose, that purpose derives from its relationship to the larger struggle variously called the global war on terror or World War IV or the Long War. To the extent that it ever made sense for U.S. forces to be fighting in Afghanistan, the rationale derived from the belief that Central Asia figured, however vaguely, as a campaign in that larger war.

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This article was published at on October 29, 2009, and is available in its entirety online.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor at Boston University, is the author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.

Posted by coalition at October 29, 2009 11:05 PM

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