Hey Michael Steele: there was this thing that happened on September 11, 2001 that you might have read about. Long story short: it resulted in the U.S. invading Afghanistan. Then President Bush launched this other war you might have read about, and one of the results of that fateful decision was to neglect the Afghanistan war for eight years. Usually wartime presidencies, if they don’t end in unexpected deaths, resolve the wars they prosecute. But not this time!

Now, if you want to say that “the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan,” congratulations, hippie! You’re now part of the antiwar movement in this country, so you might as well argue forthrightly for the Obama administration to pull out before Gen. Petraeus — who arrives in Kabul any minute now — has an opportunity to do whatever he can. But you don’t have the right to tell people at a campaign fundraiser that “this was a war of Obama’s choosing.” It was a war of Bush’s choosing. It’s a war of Obama’s inheritance.


You can criticize Obama’s decision to escalate that war. But you’ll also have to explain why muddling through or pulling out better serve U.S. interests against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. And maybe you can make that case. But your fantasy of the Afghanistan war doesn’t inspire confidence.