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Zardari: The War Is Being Lost
Posted by on August 4th, 2010

From our partners at

By Steve Hynd

Yesterday, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari dropped what Doug Mataconis describes as a verbal "hand grenade" into the debate about the Great War On Terror ™. In an interview with Le Monde, he said the war was already being lost.

"I believe that the international community, which Pakistan belongs to, is in the process of losing the war against the Taliban, and that is, above all, because we have lost the battle for hearts and minds," Le Monde quoted him as saying.

The Spectator describes Zardari's comment thusly: "Given his pivotal, front-seat role in proceedings, it's got to go down as one of the most significant statements on the war so far." However, that it's Zardari saying this automatically tweaks my cynicism bone. I've a feeling that it will only be a matter of days before he says that the situation is rescuable if only the West sends even more military aid money to Pakistan. If so, he'll have been right for the wrong reasons.

Doug links to a report that shows Obama's press secretary is obviously lost:

“Well, I don’t think the (US) President would agree with President Zardari’s conclusion that the war is lost. I haven’t seen the interview. I don’t know why he’s come to that conclusion,” Gibbs told reporters.

I would've thought it was obvious. Nine years in, General Petraeus' has had to issue a new set of rules for the occupying troops focussing (yet again) on the need to "secure and serve the population", the need to provide good governance and to fight corruption or abuse of power. We've been hearing these refrains since at least the beginning of the second Bush term and we're hearing them again now as if they're somehow new.

The Obama administration's only defence against the charge that Afghanistan is too FUBAR to fix is to put the PR machine into overdrive trying to convince us all that Afghan efforts are in continual "reset" – that the "real effort" has somehow "just begun". Tell it to the Taliban or the Afghan people! They know how long the war has lasted.

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