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Rethinking Afghanistan

Obama is showing sound thinking on Iraq, so why does he continue to talk abou tescalating the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan?
 
 
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If elected, Senator Barack Obama has the possibility of reengaging with a world that seeks an America which isn't defined by Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo -- but by the democratic ideals to which we aspire. His election, allied with smart and humane policies, could help restore this country's global reputation -- and turn a page on the reckless and destructive policies of mad men.

Obama has shown how capable he is of good judgment. His original opposition to the war and his still-firm commitment to an expeditious withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq -- a war which long ago lost any strategic purpose -- are both good measures of that judgment. (His position on keeping residual forces and mercenary troops in Iraq is one The Nation disagrees with.)

So it is troubling that as he shows sound thinking on Iraq, Obama also continues to talk about escalating the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. (This holds true not just for Senator Obama, but for most Democrats in Washington, who argue mantra-like that we need to leave Iraq in order to free additional troops to serve in Afghanistan.) Shouldn't serious thought be given to how Senator Obama's necessary agenda for healthcare and progressive economic reform might be sacrificed to yet another trillion-dollar war without end?

Katrina Vanden Heuvel is the publisher of The Nation