From Senate candidate Martha Coakley ’75:

Based on what I know now about the President’s planned troop increase, I do not believe that we should send additional troops into Afghanistan. I believe we should begin the process of bringing our troops home. I will of course listen further to the President’s address, but I remain very concerned that the case for an increase in troops has not been made.

My concern moving forward is that there is no evidence that the Afghan government, led by President Karzai, is a legitimate or trustworthy partner in these efforts. Without a credible Afghan partner, we cannot achieve a goal of securing this country with increased troop levels and then implementing a sound exit strategy that leaves it in the hands of a stable Afghan government.

Indeed. One of the reasons I voted for Obama over McCain was that I hoped he would recognize that, whatever the merits of the arguments for putting tens of thousands of US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003 or 2004 or 2005 or 2006 or 2007 or 2008 or 2009, at some point we have to recognize that the task, beyond what we have already accomplished, is hopeless. Afghanistan is what it is. Adding 30,000 more troops for another 3 years (or whatever) isn’t going to make it a meaningfully different country then pulling out now would. So, we should pull out, just as Obama is doing, somewhat too slowly for my tastes, in Iraq. Kipling had it right, as usual.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Open thread for your thoughts on Obama’s speech tonight.

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