Afghan Surge Not Working: Experts Urge US to Seek Settlement

Bleak Metrics Belie Official Optimism

With President Obama busily preparing a public address to inform the American public that the Afghan War is now a runaway success and to release a “public version” of the official assessment of the war, his administration is getting another pesky reminder that the actual war isn’t going near so well as the public statements would suggest.

An open letter was released today, signed by a number of experts and analysts, warning that the Afghan War has failed, that Gen. Petraeus’ southern offensive is “not going well,” and that the administration should save face and negotiate a settlement with the Taliban.

The letter is largely in keeping with the reality from a myriad of recent reports on the war, including a Congressional report noting spiraling violence and a “surprisingly resilient” insurgency. Indeed, the death toll in 2010 was precipitously higher than any other year of the war.

When he announced his massive December escalation last year, President Obama promised a year end review and a major reexamining of the conflict if the war wasn’t going significantly better. By all accounts, it is going much, much worse now. But all he really needs is a false claim of success, and that is exactly what officials are going to provide on Thursday.

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.