So Can We End The War Now?
Steve Hynd makes an excellent point:
The head of U.S. Central Command said Sunday that Al Qaeda is no longer operating in Afghanistan, with its senior leadership having moved to the western region of Pakistan.
Gen. David Petraeus said affiliated groups have "enclaves and sanctuaries" in Afghanistan and that "tentacles of Al Qaeda" have touched countries throughout the Middle East and northern Africa. But he said the terrorist group has suffered" very significant losses" in recent months. [...]
There is no longer any rationale for the current UN mandate for the occupation of Afghanistan. The US military, the Bush administration and now the Obama administration are engaging in mission creep beyond that rationale; firstly by invoking the "you bought it, you
ownfix it" Pottery Barn deception - the real Pottery barn rule always was "you broke it, you pay for fixing/replacing it and get the f**k out of our store" - and by redefining the battlefield as "Af/Pak" so that the UN mandate can be, entirely illegitimately, stretched into sovereign Pakistan.
That has been the practical effect of the "Af-Pak" determination, and while I think we have a role to play in strengthening the central government of Pakistan and encouraging them to deal with their own homegrown threats, as Hynd says we should get a new UN mandate to authorize such a role, as well as a new UN mandate for continuing to occupy Afghanistan absent an Al Qaeda presence. Instead, we continue to carpet-bomb the country at a record pace, perhaps using white phosphorus in illegal ways on the battlefield, and paying off civilians when we accidentally kill their families. How does this repel an Al Qaeda presence that doesn't exist?