I have had really quite important people ask me if my persistent questions here and elsewhere about Afghanistan are intended to be rhetorical. They are not.
What are we doing in Afghanistan? What, exactly, would constitute victory or defeat there? And why, exactly? We merrily grow opium in our country "for medicinal purposes". We are allied to Islamist smack-smugglers in Kosovo.
And the reviled "Taliban" are exactly the same people as the revered "tribal elders", depending on what we happen to think of them at the time. On the same basis, the "Ba'athists" whom we are in the process of "rehabilitating" in Iraq are exactly the same people as the "Sunni insurgents" or the alleged Iraqi branch of that non-existent organisation, "al-Qaeda".