WPR Interview with Andrew Exum

I just wanted to call your attention to the interview I conducted with Andrew Exum, a.k.a. Abu Muqawama. Andrew just got back from a month in Afghanistan, where he took part in Gen. stanlye McChrystal’s 60-day strategic review. He took some time out of a busy morning to talk freely and openly about his impressions on the war, including some fo the hard challenges and difficult decisions facing the U.S. military and policymakers. Here’s what he had to say when asked what one thing Americans need to know about the war in Afghanistan:

The thing that I would say is that this is going to be an extremelydifficult war that demands more resources, that demands more of ourattention, that is going to demand more American lives, unfortunately.But that there are U.S. and allied interests at stake in Afghanistan.. . . Again, having said that, I would be irresponsibleif I did not say that our ability to be successful in Afghanistanlargely depends on the Afghans themselves. And we can not force theAfghan government to be responsible and to not be predatory towards itspeople. We can use our leverage, but it’s going to be an uphillstruggle.

There’s plenty more, as well as a link to the full audio file as a WPR podcast. Andrew was very generous with his time (notice the timecode when I mention that I think we’ll make it in the 10 minutes he said could spare). It’s worth a read. Whether or not you agree with everything he has to say, Andrew’s a clear-eyed observer, a sometimes critic and a very insightful analyst of counterinsurgency in general and the Afghanistan War in particular.

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