If there were not people like Gates and Petraeus up there, my gut would say to pull out. It is only my faith in the military, and what I saw them accomplish against heavy odds in Iraq, that gives me hope.
Others would disagree with me. A well placed and very experienced British officer just emailed me his impressions, to whit:
“An impressive statement of intent – I particularly liked the bits about bearing down on Afghan corruption and corruption in how USAID money is spent. The speech inspires confidence and, as he is not Bush, it could encourage others to come to the party in a more meaningful way.
I don’t mean any offence about Bush as I for one see history judging him more favorably than contemporary commentators it’s just that the Europeans might follow Obama in a way that they never would Bush.”
And so my views clearly are not held by everyone. Most British and American officers – especially American – have been far more positive about Afghanistan than I have been. My confidence in them is great, and before publishing this I called London to talk about this. There is more confidence coming from the British Army than meets the public eye.