Quick, Before The Quagmire Sets

Iraq seems, at last, yesterday’s war. Now the Forgotten War in Afghanistan, the one that’s been going on longer, has become — again — the Just War. Barack Obama says he will change the character of the war against a resurgent Taleban, at the pointy end of the desert wastelands of the Pashtun south. But two centuries of foreign engagement in Afghanistan suggest it is going to take considerably more than the confident word of a young president. From the 1842 massacre of Elphinstone’s army and the Soviet adventure of the 1980s, armchair strategists insist foreigners have no business in Afghanistan, that it’s a graveyard of lost causes and good intentions.

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