October 25, 2009
Does Afghanistan Need a Third Surge?
Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
Dick Cheney has accused Barack Obama of "dithering" over Afghanistan. I suppose if the president were to quickly invade a country on the basis of half-baked intelligence, that would demonstrate his courage and decisiveness to Mr. Cheney. In fact, it's not a bad idea for Obama to take his time, examine all the options, and watch how the post-election landscape in Afghanistan evolves.
The real question we should be asking in Afghanistan is not "Do we need a surge?" but rather "Do we need a third surge?" The number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in January 2008 was 26,607. Over the next six months, the Bush administration raised the total to 48,250. President Bush described this policy as "the quiet surge," and he made the standard arguments about the need for a counterinsurgency...