The Corner

A New Isolationism?

In an article on the homepage, I discuss the Obama administration’s feckless vacillating over the war in Afghanistan. Here’s an excerpt:

If the Democrats will not fight in Afghanistan, it is hard to imagine a campaign they would support. In Afghanistan, unlike in Iraq, the United States has serious allies and a multilaterally (NATO and the U.N.) approved mission. Unlike the Vietnam intervention, it has been properly endorsed by Congress, and the governing party was elected promising a decisive and escalated prosecution of the war. There is not the slightest doubt that this conflict is morally justified, and unassailable in international law, and that it involves the national security of all countries that have been attacked by Islamist terrorists, or might be, including Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia. And there is little doubt that it is winnable; a military plan has been put together by the world’s foremost authorities in antiterrorist and counterinsurgency warfare, American generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal.

I regret to take issue with old friends with whom I usually agree, such as George Will, but the Afghan expedition does not bear the slightest comparison with Vietnam, or with previous military incursions in Afghanistan by the Soviet Union and the British Empire. Apart from being constitutionally authorized and multilaterally supported, the Afghan war is a response to a direct assault on the United States that originated in Afghanistan. It does not involve U.S. draftees, and the enemy is not receiving the open-ended support of other great powers, as the Vietnamese Communists did from the USSR and China.

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