Ezra Klein is left alarmed by my new TNR piece (which I hope you'll read) on the extremely daunting problem of winning "the good war" in Afghanistan. His response partly reflects, I think, a broader and growing disquiet on the left over the prospect of an escalation of the U.S. fight against the Taliban. One important data point here, which I'm kicking myself for having missed before deadline, is this op-ed from late October by Democratic Senator Russ Feingold questioning the wisdom of sending more U.S. troops into the battle. Feingold is clearly no national security hawk, of course. But he is also notable for having broken another taboo: He was, I believe, the first non-fringe member of Congress to call for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, back in 2005, when the likes of Hillary Clinton and, yes, Barack Obama were still dismissing such talk as premature.
On the flip side, the inseparable John McCain and Joe Lieberman were in Kabul this weekend, where they vowed to tell Obama that we need more troops for a long, hard slog ahead--one that McCain likened to the Iraq surge.
Photo: Afghan men try to restrain a dog moments before a dog-fighting match in Kabul on December 5, 2008. Outlawed under Taliban rule and now legal and very popular in Afghanistan, every Friday from November to March thousands of Afghans gather on the western outskirts of Kabul to watch the dog fighting matches. Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, a good fighting dog in Afghanistan can be worth several thousand dollars, with bets on matches ranging from 100 to 15,000 dollars. (DAVID FURST/AFP/Getty Images)