Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 19:30 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 19:30 | SYDNEY

Friedman on Afghanistan

By

Sam Roggeveen

@SamRoggeveen

21 July 2009 10:08

Leaving aside the cloying sentimentality of this paragraph of Thomas Friedman's op-ed, it pretty much reflects my feelings about the Afghanistan operation:

In grand strategic terms, I still don’t know if this Afghan war makes sense anymore. I was dubious before I arrived, and I still am. But when you see two little Afghan girls crouched on the front steps of their new school, clutching tightly with both arms the notebooks handed to them by a U.S. admiral — as if they were their first dolls — it’s hard to say: “Let’s just walk away.” Not yet.

To put Friedman's argument in bloodless, policy wonk terms, it means there is a strong humanitarian case for the Afghanistan operation, but a weak strategic case. Of course, there are girls and boys in many parts of the world just as deserving of Western assistance as these Afghans.