It’s a prediction that looks all too familiar.
Officials are brimming with confidence that the escalation will turn the tables in Afghanistan, but are conceding that the already record levels of violence are going to rise in the “short term.”
Materially the same prediction was made in late 2008 when then-President George Bush approved his escalation strategy. Officials said the same thing yet again in March when President Obama announced his last escalation.
A surer bet does not exist in the Afghanistan conflict, more troops means more casualties. 2008’s record levels of violence fell in mid-August of 2009, and the situation has continued to worsen ever since.
Policy makers are half right, then. The violence will rise in the short term. Their constant claims to the contrary notwithstanding, however, the “short term” never seems to give way to illusory military progress, and the levels aren’t temporary rises but an ever-worsening trend exasperated by repeated escalations of the conflict.