Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Define "Win"

Yesterday the New York Times called for General Stanley McChrystal, bound for Afghanistan once he dodges the Senate shrapnel, to be asked tough questions. It doesn't seem like he's getting them. Today on the Hill he said the war in Afghanistan was winnable. But did any senator ask him what a win would look like? Of course not. 
Game 6 was winable for the Cleveland Cavaliers (if LeBron had decided to play while not on Ambien). I know what that means. But you don't win a war, and especially not a counterinsurgency, by having more points than the other "team." What is a win in Afghanistan? A thriving democracy with a strong economy? All the Taliban dead? A 300,000 person Afghan army capable of controlling the whole country (and the tax revenue to support it)? Without defining the term, saying the war is winnable is just a good sound bite. 

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