Is Afghanistan the Right War? Nagl Says Yes

Issue: Mar-Apr 2010

THE UNITED States is "at war against al-Qaeda." So said President Obama in the wake of the attempted Christmas bombing of Northwest Flight 253, and so we are, and so we are likely to be-for many years to come. Afghanistan is one of the critical battlefields in this war; while winning in Afghanistan would not by itself defeat al-Qaeda, losing in Afghanistan would materially strengthen it and prolong the fight, potentially at the cost of many more American lives. This fact may be unpalatable, but it is also inescapable.

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