With much ballyhooing, Bruce Riedel led a team that conducted the Obama administration’s “review” of Afghan policy. As is known, the team’s deliberations produced a wonder of either naiveté or stupidity, or perhaps both: 21,000 more U.S. troops to control a country the size of Texas, and a logistical system running vital U.S.-NATO resupply lines through hostile territory in Pakistan and – with Russia’s gleeful support for keeping America bleeding in Afghanistan – the Commonwealth of Independent States. The question must be asked how a man as intelligent as Riedel came up with a plan that amounts to massively reinforcing failure.
The answer lies, I fear, in Riedel’s eagerness to please Obama with a new plan and a deep faith in the rightness of U.S. interventionism. Trying to please the president is a trait so common in some former senior CIA officials jockeying for political sinecures that it hardly comes as a surprise; Riedel very effectively managed analysis on several Middle East issues during his Agency career.
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