The Moment

8|19|09: Kabul

In the weeks after president Obama took office, his Administration sought to manage expectations on Afghanistan. Yes, it was the right war, a war of necessity--but winning didn't require turning the country into a "Jeffersonian democracy" (Obama's phrase) or a "Central Asian Valhalla" (as Defense Secretary Robert Gates put it). The implication was that President Bush had become too distracted by secondary, nation-building goals, such as ensuring that Afghan girls went to school. Obama would focus on the main task: defeating al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

But as Afghanistan holds its presidential election, the Obama Administration has arrived at the same conclusion...

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