Ted Kennedy's passing

By EDITORIAL  |  August 26, 2009

Those days hardly qualify as memories. The war has spread into the ungovernable tribal areas that nestle between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The endemic inability of the Pakistan security establishment — which is riddled with Islamists and radical sympathizers — to offer effective aid hugely complicates an already mind-bogglingly complex situation.

Those elements of the Afghan government that are not corrupt are unstable. And what pass for pro-Western factions in Pakistan appear to have their hands full keeping their fanatical countrymen in check.

With little to no hope of any political reform or diplomatic progress in either nation, the idea of committing more US forces to Afghanistan is folly. If Obama wants to play the buccaneer and up the military ante in Afghanistan, he runs the risk of Richard Nixon, who promised America that he had a secret plan to end Johnson’s Vietnam War. Nixon’s plan turned into the not-so-secret invasion of Cambodia.

Obama must realize what the far-more-experienced Nixon failed to grasp: the alternative to a planned withdrawal is an ignominious retreat.

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