Alyssa Rubin has a good article in today’s NYT on lessons she has learned from six years in Iraq. (here) The message is basically this: In a foreign land we get blinded by wishful thinking, aided by our ignorance. Optimism and hope can easily become hubris. She fleshes this out in some detail.
Her point is that as we ponder America’s role in Afghanistan, we need to be extremely careful not to think too highly of our own opinions. Rather, pay close attention to what is really happening. Whether you are convinced that Obama is dithering and delaying our prosecution of a nation-saving surge, or you believe that whatever we do in the mountains of Afghanistan is bound to fail and we should draw down our troops as soon as possible–don’t be too sure of yourself.
The lesson applies to Obama, of course. Unlike the rest of us, however, he has to decide what to do. God help him to get it right.