Why Is the Washington Post Growing More Hawkish on Afghanistan?

I think reasonable people can disagree about our policy and strategy in Afghanistan. My thoughts on the matter are hardly consistent. I disagree with myself. But I have to note that the Washington Post is taking a particularly hawkish line in both its reporting and its editorial stance. Someone leaked Gen. McChrystal's report to Bob Woodward, which the Post front-paged yesterday. They have followed up today with pieces by Karen DeYoung, Greg Jaffe, and an editorial from Fred Hiatt and the board.

Hiatt tries to hold President Obama to his former analysis and commitments, without giving any cognizance to the disastrous elections that recently took place or the prospects and costs of success. He actually goes so far as to say that we would dishonor our nation by failing to escalate our troop levels there. It's just a further demonstration that the Post's editorial board is now little more than an extension of the Weekly Standard. It's not that they are advocating a bigger, fuller commitment that offends me, it's that they're making such a poorly argued and dishonest case for escalation. On a side note, Hiatt has also provided space for Honduran coup-master Roberto Micheletti to make his case on today's editorial page without providing space for the other side. So, his commitment to defending democracy is hardly consistent.

Karen DeYoung, at least, puts the main issue before us.

Obama's public remarks on Afghanistan indicate that he has begun to rethink the counterinsurgency strategy he set in motion six months ago, even as his generals have embraced it. The equation on the ground has changed markedly since his March announcement, with attacks by Taliban fighters showing greater sophistication, U.S. casualties rising, and the chances increasing that Afghanistan will be left with an illegitimate government after widespread fraud in recent presidential elections.

Those facts are real, and those are the facts we want our policy-makers to be debating. DeYoung's reporting is solid, even if it doesn't fully support the Post's sensationalist headline: General's Review Creates Rupture.


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