I think I said previously that I would probably be returning to the subject of Afghanistan and the likelihood of escalating U.S. involvement in the war there, and sure enough, it seems appropriate to do so again. Although the Obamaites say they're sending that additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan just to try to improved stability a tad while they rethink the issue, as I explained in my most recent column for Antiwar.com, it doesn't look as if they are rethinking it deeply enough to suit me (as if that matters to them).
As I and a few others have suggested, the important thing to remember is that al-Qaida and the Taliban are not one and the same, that the Taliban is an indigenous Afghan outfit while al-Qaida has international ambitions. Our core interest in Afghanistan, therefore, whoever nominally rules there, is that al-Qaida not be able to use the country as a base from which to plan attacks on the U.S. (and Western Europe). They're not able to do so now, so the best course would be to remove our military forces, which have about as much chance of prevailing as the Russians in the 1980s and the British in the 19th century, and inform whoever reigns in Kabul that if we detect al-Qaida activity we'll take it out by whatever means promises to work, and might, if we feel like it, give the nominal government maybe five minutes' notice. But it looks as if the Obama administration is preparing for a long-term commitment