“The last thing we should do is give Mr. Ahmadinejad an opportunity to evoke the 1953 American-sponsored coup, which ousted Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and returned Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to power. Doing so would only allow him to cast himself as a modern-day Mossadegh, standing up for principle against a Western puppet.”
U.S. Senator John Kerry
Opinion: “With Iran, Think Before You Speak”
June 17, 2009; The New York Times
Last Wednesday, U.S. Senator John McCain gave a tough talk at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank.
His topic was Afghanistan. His message was that the U.S. is losing the war.
The situation in Afghanistan is nowhere near as dire as it was in Iraq just two years ago … But the same truth that was apparent three years ago in Iraq is apparent today in Afghanistan: when you aren’t winning in this kind of war, you are losing. And, in Afghanistan today, we are not winning. Let us not shy from the truth, but let us not be paralyzed by it either.
Fine. Let’s not be paralyzed. But there is a way in which Sen. McCain managed to avoid discussing the same realities on the ground that everyone else seems to be avoiding.
Let’s just take one issue in particular: there is no such thing as “the” Taliban. It might make for easy reporting, but the notion of a single opposition force serves to obscure more than it reveals.