Obama's Afghanistan Surge--A Primer

Will it work? Can the Afghan corruption be overcome?


By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

President Obama announced his new Afghan strategy today, with significantly higher funding and more troops to the region.

As my colleague Anna Mulrine has reported, one of the biggest hurdles facing Obama's plans is the endemic corruption in the Afghan government:

But behind the scenes, some senior U.S. military officials are cautioning that a civilian surge will bring little progress until something is done about the pervasive corruption within the Afghan government. Some military officials recently raised the corruption issue with a senior aide to special envoy Richard Holbrooke—President Obama's top troubleshooter for the Afghan war—on a fact-finding mission in Kabul.

More broadly, the debate over an Afghan surge continues, as it has in this space for some time.

For a good primer on the debate, I commend you to military historian Andrew Bacevich's article arguing that it won't be worth the cost in blood and treasure and to the Center for a New American Security's John Nagl arguing that done right, the surge can and will work.

Will the Afghan surge work? Weigh in here.

On Facebook? You can keep up with Thomas Jefferson Street blog postings through Facebook's Networked Blogs.