The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Monday, February 27, 2012

On continued unrest in Afghanistan following the burning of Korans by US military personnel:

I think what’s happened over the last few days is definitive evidence of how ineffective the apology has been. If I thought the apology could save one American life, I’d swallow hard and say it’s alright — the president to go ahead and do it. But he did do it and it did not sooth the savage mob.

In fact, it intensified the violence. We had the shooting in cold blood of the two American advisors in the interior ministry happening the day after that apology. We had the grenade thrown at American soldiers in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan the next day. And then we had, this morning, the suicide attack on the American base outside of Jalalabad. So clearly it didn’t have any effect whatsoever.

And even more than the embarrassment, I think, of all of those wall-to-wall apologies is what [the violence] does to our strategy, because our strategy is to hand over the war to the Afghans. The intermediate step is for us to embed advisors, civilian and military, with Afghan officials. The problem now is that there is a small minority — a small, but deadly minority — of Afghan officials who so hate the United States, or to put it in a conspiratorial way, who are so infiltrated by the Taliban enemy, that it is no longer safe. So we’ve withdrawn our advisers, which undermines the entire strategy and puts in question the entire effort in Afghanistan.

On whether the unrest will affect US strategy in Afghanistan:

I think it does. I think the brave talk out the Defense Department [yesterday] that it will not alter our strategy is simply bravado.

If you cannot trust the advisors whom the Americans are working with and who are the ones who will be taking over when we leave, then the entire strategy of the transfer of authority and  power is in jeopardy.

It means they have to recalculate as to whether, how and when the Americans and the others — the Europeans — can actually leave.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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