Today, Barack Obama is spending nearly all of his day in briefings related to Afghanistan and Pakistan. While many Members of Congress are invited to the briefings, you and I are not.
But for those in New York, you can see Patrick Lang, Ralph Peters and me debate my boss, Steve Coll — author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 that Barack Obama has been reading for about eleven months (really. . .11 months??), John Nagl and James Shinn.
That’s right, I am debating my boss — but we plan to demonstrate what constructive discourse can look like. We can’t speak for others on our respective teams, however.
The proposition we are going to wrestle with is too stark — but that’s the way debates are framed. The debate proposition is “AMERICA CANNOT AND WILL NOT SUCCEED IN AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN.”
Binary choices are not the way the real world works in my view, but at least this debate tonight will help those of us on stage and others in the audience explicate what the big issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan are — and are not.
Tonight’s debate is sponsored by the Intelligence Squared Debates Series and will be at NYU. Info and ticket information here.
Unfortunately, the gratis tickets I was given are all spoken for now — but folks can still purchase tickets if you are interested.
I will be posting links to National Public Radio and Bloomberg coverage of the debates in coming days.
— Steve Clemons