How about a throwaway post about Afghanistan? I’m not a policy expert, but right now, everyone and his or her mama seem to be talking about the Afghan War WikiLeaks, and a friend sent me a link to Stratfor’s interesting discussion thereof.
Nearly everything I’ve been reading about the situation in Afghanistan is grim. The Afghan people just plain don’t like the Taliban (who are Salafist extremist theocrats with a radical Saudi-spinoff religious ideology), and consider them foreigners. No one seems to care what the Afghans want, though.
The other issue is the Taliban’s role in terrorism. (An ongoing role, BTW. And had the Times Square bombing been successful, I doubt the calls for handing over Afghanistan to them would be as loud or as callused as they are becoming.)
Politically, Afghanistan and the Taliban will remind those citizens who have memories of President Obama’s promises….
Like this campaign classic:

During an overseas trip to Afghanistan, Sen. Barack Obama said the United States needed to focus on the war there, calling the situation “precarious and urgent,” adding “I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism.”

And more:

“Our troops have fought valiantly there, but Iraq has deprived them of the support they need — and deserve,” Obama said. “As a result, parts of Afghanistan are falling into the hands of the Taliban, and a mix of terrorism, drugs and corruption threatens to overwhelm the country. As president, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to re-enforce our counterterrorism operations and support NATO’s efforts against the Taliban.”

And as president, he’s now looking at a war he says he wanted to finish, but no longer does.
I may be wrong, but IMO the WikiLeaks constitute an attempt by administration-friendly insiders to make it easier for the president to break his campaign promises while blaming his predecessors for it. The idea is to lift a page from history — The Pentagon Papers — and lay the blame for Afghanistan at Bush. (And, of course, on an inherently evil militaristic America.)
But there’s a new twist in the historical blame game. Obama does not want to be Nixon. After all, Nixon did everything he could to fight the release of the Pentagon Papers, because even though they largely implicated LBJ, Nixon did not seek a dishonorable exit from Vietnam. He genuinely wanted to prevent a Communist victory in South Vietnam, and had he remained in office, it is very doubtful that the North Vietnamese (who had been basically bombed into submission and knew Nixon would be right back with the B52s) would have crossed him. Obama not only cannot strike such a deal, he couldn’t care less about the Afghan people. I suspect he just wants to pull out and blame Bush.
That way, when there’s a return to things like the destruction of priceless historical treasures, when sadistic stonings and amputations become routine again, Obama can disclaim all responsibility, and say it was all Bush’s fault.
But that would be shameless. Americans wouldn’t reelect a shameless president, would they?
MORE: As of now, these documents are fueling fierce criticism of Barack Obama from from the anti-Obama left, this analysis being typical:

Barack Obama made the US war in Afghanistan a center-piece of his electora journey to the White House and the proof needed to shoot down anybody who would question his warhawk credentials. It is now a little over a year and a half into his presidency and Afghanistan has completely become Barack Obama’s war.
Sure, this is a war that George W. Bush had 8 years to bungle, but it was Obama who not only deployed more troops into the country but has in many ways extended the war policies of the previous administration by pussy-footing more so with Pakistan than Iran.
I haven’t been able to look at the documents but am sure that we all have plenty of time to look into this massive intelligence coup by Wikileaks. This is indeed the Pentagon Papers of our generation but bigger and potentially more devastating to the everybody involved in sustaining the war machine; including Obama himself.
Scrutiny of these documents and the potential implications to policy are happening in the war’s real time, not years after it has ended. As John Kerry said to the Guardian: “However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan”.

I don’t think it will be easy for Obama to wash his hands over the fate of Afghanistan, and I don’t think he will undertake such a step lightly. He needs to be able to say “America has had enough” and place the blame on Bush.
(Hence, my suspicions about the motive behind the leaks.)
MORE: More rave reviews:

reads like an indictment of the Bush Administration


Bush should be put on trial for war crimes.

I doubt this would fly with the voters, though.