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August 13, 2009

Searching for "The Real War"

Has anyone else noticed that wherever we happen to be fighting at the moment is never defined as the "real war"?

... everyone on the panel kept acknowledging that Pakistan is really the more important half of this equation and yet all the talk had been about Afghanistan. So she got her panelists to briefly address Pakistan. But then with that done the discussion shifted again, as if by force of gravity, back to Afghanistan.

That’s reflected my general experience of how these discussions go, and I think it’s a real problem. It’s genuinely true that the situation in Pakistan matters more and that the Afghanistan situation is worrying primarily because if its possible implications for Pakistan. That means we really do need to be talking about Pakistan.

My colleague Parag Khanna and I agree - and we said the same thing a few weeks ago. Now we took some grief on some of our specific Pakistan suggestions: some of them deserved. But the larger point stands; the real fight is in Pakistan not Afghanistan and that's where US energy needs to be focused and not just militarily, but also economically and diplomatically.

Must be that whole action bias thing, rearing its ugly head. War seems so much more interesting when you don't have the slightest intention of actually fighting.

Update: If only there were a fight that mattered somewhere. Someone??? Anyone???

despite the recent spate of American deaths, the Taliban kidnapping of a soldier in the Northeast and the many local opportunities for danger, the 3/ll Marines remain calm.

“I’m confident the Marines have my back,” says Sgt. Scott Whittington, a combat correspondent who routinely ventures outside the wire to capture images of Marines in different war zones. Like many of his fellow Marines, Whittington has combat experience in Iraq and a calm confidence that comes with having been in similar situations.

But Afghanistan is no Iraq.

Bernal is the first line of defense on a barebones base where many Marines are sleeping in hand-dug pits to avoid being wounded by indirect fire. He puts his trust in his unit, and in its mission, which is to secure and hold strategic ground. "I have total faith in our commander," he says.

“One hundred percent accountability is key,” Captain Chad Altheiser, commanding officer of Battery “I,” told FOXNews.com. He has never been to Afghanistan, but he has completed two tours in Iraq. The experience shows.

“We keep security tight here at the camp,” says Altheiser, whose focus on personal safety is only partly explained by the fact that he is expecting a newborn son within days.

Throughout Afghanistan, troops have been killed in action, but that hasn’t been a major concern. News doesn't reach Fiddler's Green 24/7, and because of a lack of Internet and phones, most of the 3/11 Marines are using pen and paper to send letters to loved ones back home.

“No media out here, not sure what’s really going on out there,” Corporal Tyler Ledbetter told FOXNews.com.

Ledbetter, who is three months into a 7-month tour in Afghanistan, refused to comment on the possibility of abduction, but was quick to explain why the rising death toll did not faze him.

“We’re the best trained fighting force in the world,” he said.

Go, 3/11. The Unit and I were privileged to be part of the 3/11 family for 3 years. Good people.

Posted by Cassandra at August 13, 2009 05:39 PM

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Comments

Yglesias never had any intention of "actually fighting" anywhere.

Posted by: Grim at August 13, 2009 06:47 PM

Well of course not, silly Marine person.

After all, you can no more win a war than you can win an earthqueke.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 13, 2009 07:01 PM

It’s genuinely true that the situation in Pakistan matters more and that the Afghanistan situation is worrying primarily because if its possible implications for Pakistan. That means we really do need to be talking about Pakistan.

The last time the Libs were interested in Pakistan, they launched a media campaign that ousted Musharraf -- who had sealed roughly 50% of the TaliQaeda in the NWFP and had been quietly destroying them, camp by camp. They had a fit when he beseiged the Red Mosque because it was training suicide bombers.

Libs convinced Benazhir Bhutto to return from exile (she fled to avoid incarceration for misappropriating funds -- you have to be pretty blatant when the *Swiss* convict you of money-laundering) and *save* Pakistan. In a particularly nasty bit of irony, the bomber who killed Bhutto was a former congregant at the Red Mosque.

Interesting that the Libs forced out the man who was picking TaliQaeda apart *before* Pakistan became a situation, and now they're concerned that Pakistan has become a situation.

And if we *do* get actively involved on the ground in concert with the Pak Army, I guarantee you the Libs will instantly declare that *Indonesia* is where the real fight is...

Posted by: BillT at August 14, 2009 09:45 AM

Or Chad. Or the Sudan :p

Or Antarctica. Damn terrorist penguins have nearly oppressed the indigenous gay polar bear population into extinction.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2009 09:49 AM

Or the Dairy Queen...

Posted by: bt_the-beatnik_hun at August 14, 2009 10:02 AM

Are you attacking the Transgendered Bovine Community again?

Posted by: BillT at August 14, 2009 02:54 PM

Alls I know is, the Dairy Queen is still pretty popular around these parts...and this is Texas!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 14, 2009 03:32 PM

A sure sign that Su'rn folk are more tolerant than the Libs give 'em credit fer...

Posted by: BillT at August 14, 2009 03:56 PM

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