David Brooks is back on the Obama ranch, having been lassoed by White House officials when he briefly strayed. Brook’s latest puff piece is The Winnable War. You don’t need to read it. I’ll give you the punch line, which is a shocka:


As in, almost everything we have done in the past eight years was wrong, but the Afghans have hope and like us despite it all. We will win because Obama is surging troops in Afghanistan.

Of course, and as usual, Brooks ignores some important elements of history. As in, we defeated the Taliban as an organized fighting force, drove alQaeda into the mountains of Pakistan, have instituted numerous reforms supporting women, and have done so without creating huge enemies among the population. You can disagree with the long-term strategy, which was not to put in so many troops that we were viewed as occupiers, but you cannot legitimately disagree with the enormous progress comparing Afghanistan today with Afghanistan on September 10, 2001.

Brooks credits the upcoming troop surge for his optimism, but does not credit the correct President in laying the goodwill at Obama’s doorstep. The surge was a change in strategy approved during the Bush administration. This from early August 2008:

President Bush promised NATO allies at a summit that ended in Bucharest, Romania, on Friday that the United States will increase forces in Afghanistan next year no matter what happens in Iraq, aides said.

So yes, there may be hope for a change in Afghanistan. And maybe the troop surge will make the difference in Afghanistan as it did in Iraq. Now if only David Brooks would give credit where credit is due: To our troops and President Bush.