I have given the generals what they have asked for. Our troops have performed admirably, adjusting to a new kind of war and paying a terrible price for it. But in this kind of war, as the generals remind me, the military aspects only get us so far. To win this kind of war, we need to have a government on the ground that the people can support. It does not have to be a perfect government, but it needs to be one that is committed to making progress. Unfortunately, it has become abundantly clear that the Karzai government is actually an obstacle to progress. From the election that President Karzai and others deliberately undermined to the efforts to block any serious attempt to address corruption, we have enough evidence to show that this is simply a government upon which we cannot build. We can continue to pour money and lives into this country, but without sincere efforts by the Karzai government, we will not be able to make progress. Therefore, I am now committed to drawing down our troops now and handing over the effort to the Afghans, ready or not.It would be brave, it would be ugly, it would not produce a great outcome, and, of course, the concern really is about Pakistan. But I don't think Karzai wants us to help them build a semi-capable government. So, either we just create mini-states and lots of decentralization or we focus on limiting the damage done to the neighbors as we get out.
I knew that Karzai was not a great bet a few years ago, but he has defied every expectation of being minimally supportive of the mission.
Of course, I could just have the traveling blues.