Friday, July 16, 2010

The Legitimacy War on Terror

What we're really fighting for in Afghanistan at this point:

This is why U.S. officials are so concerned about the corruption in Karzai's regime, in the provincial districts, in the Afghan police—throughout the entire ruling apparatus. The issue here is not about imposing morality or building democracy; it's about instilling a sense of legitimacy—a bond between the people and the government. Without that, no counterinsurgency campaign can succeed, no matter how well the generals plan or the soldiers fight.
It's precisely for this reason that the other bit of news—that President Karzai has finally agreed to let Gen. Petraeus form local police forces around Afghanistan—is, at least potentially, promising.
But as long as the Taliban remains more flexible and efficient at providing government-like services than the US-backed Afghani government, the counterinsurgency campaign will continue to be an expensive, bloody game of cat and mouse.

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