In a tour of bases around Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal repeated this mantra to all his field commanders: Time is running out.
One of the big take-aways from Iraq was that you have to not lose confidence in what you are doing. We were able to go to the edge of the abyss without losing hope.
Have you seen "Revolutionary Road"?
Hopeless emptiness. Now you've said it. Plenty of people are onto the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.
After eight years of mismanagement and neglect every choice the United States faces in Afghanistan is dreadful. The weight of the evidence suggests that curtailing our ambitions is the option least dreadful.
Let's not kid ourselves. We're not going to find some wonderful thing that's going to deliver large positive results at modest costs. It's not going to happen.
Elizabeth Rubin, from the Korengal Valley:
It didn't take long to understand why so many soldiers were taking antidepressants.
Richard Holbrooke must know that there will be no American victory in this war; he can only try to forestall potential disaster. But if he considers success unlikely, or even questions the premise of the war, he has kept it to himself.
In some cultures you're supposed to be responsible out to the seventh generation -- that's about 200 years. But it goes right against self-interest.
If it is to have any chance of success, the Obama plan for Afghanistan needs a serious long-term commitment -- at least for the next three years. Democratic politicians are demanding results before next year's congressional elections, which is neither realistic nor possible. Moreover, the Taliban are quite aware of the Democrats' timetable. With Obama's plan the US will be taking Afghanistan seriously for the first time since 2001; if it is to be successful it will need not only time but international and US support -- both open to question.
"You Westerners have your watches," the leader observed. "But we Taliban have time."
You've got to make a long-term commitment.
Milt Bearden, in March:
The only certainty about Afghanistan is that it will be Obama's War.
From 2006, a snowflake:
Building a new nation is never a straight, steady climb upward. Today can sometimes look worse than yesterday -- or even two months ago. What matters is the overall trajectory: Where do things stand today when compared to what they were five years ago?