Maybe The Baby Doesn't Want To Be Adopted
The Mustache of Understanding has some decent things to say about Afghanistan, but they boil down to "if we are going to engage in nation-building we'd better have a pretty good government to work with. The assumption being that some nation-building projects can work, which befits the neocon-in-sheep's-clothing that is Tom Friedman.
But Afghanistan is so corrupt, so desperate, with our partner so ineffectual, that even the Mustache cannot abide by engaging in a decade-long experiment to bring them freeance and peeance. But Friedman comes to no conclusion, however, instead offering the evasive technique of calling for "debate."
That is the raw clay for our state-building. It may still be worth doing, but one thing I know for sure, it must be debated anew. This is a much bigger undertaking than we originally signed up for. Before we adopt a new baby — Afghanistan — we need to have a new national discussion about this project: what it will cost, how much time it could take, what U.S. interests make it compelling, and, most of all, who is going to oversee this policy?
I feel a vast and rising ambivalence about this in the American public today, and adopting a baby you are ambivalent about is a prescription for disaster.
The missing ingredient to Friedman's calculation is the desires of the Afghan people themselves. But when has he ever concerned himself with what the lower orders want?
...It is significant, as James Joyner says, that Tom Friedman appears to have given up on the war. But he just can't bring himself to say it's not worth fighting.