Permissible Arms

Metrics is also the name of a band.

Posted in afghanistan, us politics by Karaka on 17 September 2009

Steve Coll over at Think Tank picks up Objective 3b where I dropped it yesterday.

Here, however, is objective 3b: “Promote a more capable, accountable, and effective government in Afghanistan that serves the Afghan people and can eventually function, especially regarding internal security, with limited international support.” There is some carefully modest language in that sentence; nonetheless, it crosses into the realm of nation-building, including the construction of political legitimacy for an Afghan government that is accused of having just tried to steal a national election.

In many ways, I think that is the crux of this metrics document. I already accept that we are nation-building in Afghanistan, and that we have been, whether we like it or not, for years. I think mostly I’m surprised 3b didn’t get bumped further up. But the inherent, and pervasive, issue with nation-building is not so much whether it can be done, but how effectively is can be done. And what resources are being used to effect that job.

I maintain that I don’t think troops are the single most effective way to accomplish that goal, but I accept the necessity of that increase. If such a goal is clearly stated here, in this Administration document, I wonder if the White House is coming to any kind of conclusion about that too.

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