We Can’t Afford a “No Matter the Cost” Approach to Afghanistan


A quick follow up to my last post on Afghanistan.
Frederick Kagan penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in October 2007 called “Spend Whatever It Takes to Win the War on Terror.”
Unless his views have changed over the past year and a half, Kagan seems to think that the “war on terror” – defined as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – must be “won” no matter the cost.
This kind of Bush-era strategic laziness has got to go. Containing international terrorism needs to be recast as a high priority among several in our national security strategy, rather than George W. Bush’s “defining ideological struggle of the 21st century” or Senator McCain’s phrase, “transcendent challenge.”
Those of us who question whether throwing more troops, money, and political capital into Afghanistan makes sense need to point out the opportunity costs of an escalation and we need to challenge folks like Frederick Kagan and others to explain how much their plan will cost and why it is worth spending our limited resources in Afghanistan instead of addressing our other interests at home and around the globe.
— Ben Katcher


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