1. Boot: I think Abdullah Abdullah realized he would lose the runoff Election, just as he had lost the initial Election. And the Reality is, there was Fraud. There was a lot of Fraud. Hamid Karzai’s still the most popular politician in Afghanistan. He still has a lot of legitimacy, especially amongst the Pashtuns where the Insurgency is based. And I think we’ve been focusing too much on the Election because the people I spoke to in Afghanistan when I was just there were more concerned about what their Government is delivering for them rather than how it was selected. I think there’s still a good opportunity to work with Hamid Karzai, work with the Governors, to increase the kind of governing capacity that Afghanistan has to defeat the Taliban.
2. Boot: No, Corruption is a huge problem, but it’s not just Corruption in the polling place, it’s Corruption in day to day Governments and we have to work on that and the best way to work on that as I discovered myself in Districts in central and southern Afghanistan is to send more American Troops, to send more civilian workers, to send more diplomats, so they can work, be mentoring very closely with Afghan officials and improving and raising their level of Governance.
3. Boot: Well, Lou, I mean, you could talk about the fact that.
4. Boot: I think his decision should be to back General McChrystal who is a terrific General who has a great Team with him, and has done a very careful study of the situation, concluded that he needs about 40,000 more Troops to turn the situation around. Now Lou, you were talking about all the problems that still exist in Afghanistan. Of course, they’re very real. I think it’s inaccurate to say we’ve been fighting the War for eight years because it’s been chronically under-resourced for eight years.
5. Boot: In a lot of Areas in southern and eastern Afghanistan where I’ve visited.
6. Boot: In a very limited way. In a very limited way.
7. Boot: That’s true.
8. Boot: We’ve never made the kind of commitment we made in Iraq and the situation in Iraq is far worse than it is in Afghanistan.
9. Boot: The problem is, Lou, people who don’t want to send more Troops are basically in favour of the Strategy you’re talk about, which is muddling through.
10. Boot: No, the people who oppose sending more Troops basically say they want to keep our commitment roughly where it is, which puts Americans Lives into danger without giving them a chance to win. If you send more Troops, then you give them a chance to win.
11. Boot: You know, we tried pulling out of Afghanistan once before. It didn’t work out so well on 9/11.
12. Boot: We made a commitment to overthrowing the Soviet Occupation in the 1980s, then we wrote off Afghanistan and said what happened there didn’t matter. I think in 2001 we discovered it does matter.
13. Boot: What I feel comfortable with, what I feel comfortable with is making a larger commitment to win the War and to prevent the Taliban from taking.