“U.S. Intelligence Offers Dim View of Afghan War” by Elizabeth Bumiller (TIMES, 12/15/10)


          Congratulations to Elizabeth Bumiller, one of the more perceptive reporters of the war in Afghanistan, for highlighting the dispute between more realistic U.S. intelligence analysts and military commanders who “promote ‘can do’ optimism.”

          The former establish their credibility on the accuracy of their reporting; the latter need to demonstrate a willingness to continue fighting in all circumstances. Since promotions go to those with a “can do optimism,” not only can’t soldiers surrender; they are reluctant to even retreat from an untenable position. 

          If we listen to such military careerists, the war in Afghanistan could drag on for years, despite Obama’s claim that a withdrawal is forthcoming.

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