Thursday, September 24, 2009

Surgical Strikes, Not Troop Increases

Vice President Biden's foreign-policy chops are impressive and are the biggest reason that President Obama chose him to be his running mate. The veteran senator from Delaware was an early and vocal opponent of the Iraq war as it unraveled, but unlike most critics he consistently proposed reasonable alternatives to the course being pursued. All of which were ignored.

Biden has now floated a plan tacitly acknowledging that Afghanistan has become an unwinnable quagmire by scaling back American forces, which is exactly what General Stanley McChrystal does not want to do, while focusing the remaining troops on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in neighboring Pakistan using special forces, Predator drones and other so-called surgical tactics.

There is, of course, a political element to the Biden alternative. While it would set up a showdown between the White House and McChrystal, it would placate Obama's liberal base. And infuriate conservatives.

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