Last Wednesday, U.S. Senator John McCain gave a tough talk at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank.
His topic was Afghanistan. His message was that the U.S. is losing the war.
The situation in Afghanistan is nowhere near as dire as it was in Iraq just two years ago … But the same truth that was apparent three years ago in Iraq is apparent today in Afghanistan: when you aren’t winning in this kind of war, you are losing. And, in Afghanistan today, we are not winning. Let us not shy from the truth, but let us not be paralyzed by it either.
Fine. Let’s not be paralyzed. But there is a way in which Sen. McCain managed to avoid discussing the same realities on the ground that everyone else seems to be avoiding.
Let’s just take one issue in particular: there is no such thing as “the” Taliban. It might make for easy reporting, but the notion of a single opposition force serves to obscure more than it reveals.