No Easy Way Out

Obama wrestles with a withdrawal from Afghanistan

Pete Souza / Official White House Photo

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai from his vehicle outside the Jane E. Lawton Community Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Sunday, March 11, 2012.

The war in Afghanistan never looked so hopeless as it did in the days after an American soldier walked from his base near Kandahar and murdered 16 civilians, including nine children, in their homes. The massacre may have been the brutal act of a lone man. But it also felt like a last straw, one nasty turn too many in a conflict lately defined by grim episodes: the murder of the Afghan government's top peace negotiator, Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters and the sacrilegious burning of Korans by U.S. troops innocently trying to dispose of them. That last incident produced...

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