Many people are skeptical of President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan, sending an additional 30,000 troops there in an effort to boost US counterinsurgency efforts. One of the most prominent skeptics is the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry.
In November he contributed two reports to the Obama administration’s policy debate regarding the escalation, both of which argued against General McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy and questioned whether Afghan President Hamid Karzai could be counted a reliable partner:
“Sending additional forces will delay the day when Afghans will take over, and make it difficult, if not impossible, to bring our people home on a reasonable timetable,” he wrote Nov. 6. “An increased U.S. and foreign role in security and governance will increase Afghan dependence, at least in the short-term.” [...]
“Yet Karzai continues to shun responsibility for any sovereign burden, whether defense, governance or development. He and much of his circle do not want the U.S. to leave and are only too happy to see us invest further,” Mr. Eikenberry wrote. “They assume we covet their territory for a never-ending ‘war on terror’ and for military bases to use against surrounding powers.”
Eikenberry feared that sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan would only serve to make America “more deeply engaged here with no way to extricate ourselves, short of allowing the country to descend again into lawlessness and chaos.”
He has since said that his concerns have been alleviated, but it is unclear how. (Read more about the reports HERE.)
David Bromwich wrote of Eikenberry’s diplomatic cables:
It is as if we had been offered a long look at several pages of the most disturbing prognosis in the Pentagon Papers; as if we could see the president reading them with us, and then deciding in spite of everything to go ahead with the war.
For more on the significance of the Eikenberry cables, watch the Rethink Afghanistan video below.