Weekly Standard: The War Beyond Afghanistan

May 3, 2012
Originally published on May 3, 2012 11:32 am

Daniel Halper is The Weekly Standard's Online Editor

William Kristol offers his thoughts on President Obama's Afghanistan speech in a piece for the Washington Post:

"The most striking sentence of President Obama's eloquent speech to the nation Tuesday night came very near the end: 'This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.'

"Would that it were so. Would that it were so that the Sept. 11 attacks marked the beginning of a period whose end is soon approaching. The president thinks this, and the American people would like it to be so. It's an attractive view, with the great political merit of offering hope of a relatively early and clear end to 'this time of war.' And it's not an intellectually incoherent view: The 9/11 attack was launched by al Qaida based in Afghanistan. Our war aim has been and is to destroy al Qaida and prevent the use of Afghanistan as a base for future attacks. When we've achieved this objective, the war will end.

"But what if the reality is that, from Pakistan in the east to Tunisia in the west, and most visibly now in places such as Iran and Yemen and Somalia — and not just in Afghanistan — we are at war with political Islamism, a movement whose ability to find state sponsors and enablers is not limited to just one country or two? ...

"Unfortunately, the war in which we are engaged won't end with peace in, or withdrawal from, Afghanistan."

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