P.J. Tobia's cover story in this week's Village Voice is worth reading. His travelogue conveys a sense of seemingly hopelessness of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. The way he Tobia it, there's virtually no chance that the coalition will train the Afghans to govern themselves and oppose the Taliban on their own.
Rachel Maddow has been running an interesting series on her TV show called "This Way Out" in which she interviews leading military experts and policy makers about possible ends to the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Tobia's account is consistent with what Maddow's experts have been saying.
The official Bush administration line was that the coalition was only going to stay long enough to turn over power to the newly democratic Afghanistan. This week Obama said, more modestly, that the mission was to defeat Al Qaeda.
Neither of those things will happen soon.
There's absolutely no reason to expect that the coalition will manage to train enough Afghans to resist the Taliban on their own. The popular will to cooperate with occupying forces is, understandably, limited. Over and above that, Afghanistan lacks the infrastructure, resources, and skills necessary to create a sustain a self-governing state out of the ashes of a failed one.
The question is whether it's worthwhile, let alone ethically justifiable, to continue to occupy the country indefinitely.