First, thanks to Nick for an excellent series of posts yesterday in my absence. And particularly for this one.

Second, check out Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the hardcore Afghanistan hawk serving as NATO secretary-general. Rasmussen fascinates me, and in this press conference he doesn’t disappoint. He pledges that non-U.S. NATO allies will send “at least 5000 soldiers to this operation and probably a few thousand on top of that.” And then he finds whatever justification he possibly can for why a skeptical Europe ought to do so.

What is happening in Afghanistan poses a clear and present danger to the citizens in all our countries. Terrorism that could strike our streets, our airports, our metros. Extremism that inspires violence across the world

OK, smooth sailing so far. Debatable, I suppose, but clearly manifested throughout the last decade.

Drugs that end up in our schools and back allies and that kill 100,000 people every year.

Stop right there. The least compelling explanation for the Afghanistan war in human history is to conceive of it as a counternarcotics mission. This is an argument too stupid and in too much bad faith to take it seriously, so suffice it to say that after the Afghanistan war ends, Afghanistan will still produce and export a lot of opiates. I wonder what the Dutch, who have something like 1600 troops in Afghanistan, think about Rasmussen’s glommed-on and cynical mission creep.