Administration Officials Agree: Afghan War Stalemated

With Obama Set to Present New Strategy, Is Even a Stalemate Wishful Thinking?

As people eagerly await President Barack Obama’s latest “comprehensive strategy” in Afghanistan, the administration’s officials and advisers seem to agree: the United States is not winning. Likewise, they seem to see the war as being “stalemated.”

Many see the administration’s repeated caution about the prospects of success in Afghanistan as a marked change from the unflappable optimism that the Bush Administration seemed unable to shake during even the most grim stages of its assorted war-fighting. Yet when Gen. McKiernan, for instance, declares a stalemate exists, is he being a grim realist, or just being optimistic in an even worse situation?

The most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan described the situation as a downward spiral, the Taliban has established permanent presences across a growing portion of the nation and already record violence seems set to be even worse over the next year. Given this, it seems the height of optimism to consider the situation a stalemate.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.