The question President Obama, along with his dysfunctional Congress and Senate is faced with is: send more troops in or pull everyone out? Gates says he (Obama) isn't ready to make a decision. Pelosi says there's no support. Apparently, McMullin couldn't get past the president's simile and metaphors. An ex-journo I know says pull everyone out right now. My neighbor thinks we're shit. All of this is grounded in politics and appearances. But the reality is that the boots on the ground perspective is much different.
There are no easy answers. I play this out different ways, and each time the only conclusion I come to is that we have to look at the outcomes in either way. More troops in? Yes, but it has to be with a different strategy, following COIN and getting out of the FOBBIT mode. The thought of pulling out also comes with problems. One is that the women who voted for the first time, and girls finally going to school would see their future greatly diminished. Second, the vast number of underreported efforts and successes by both troops and also non-NGO/US-AID projects would dwindle, eventually coming to a halt.
Here are three that would be in danger of losing all the strides they have made.
First up, if you're not familiar with Baba Tim's Free Range International Blog, then stop in. BabaTim is a retired Marine who became a contractor. To put it in simple terms, he lives and works among the Afghan people doing precisely what COIN had tried to set out to do. You might want to read a post he wrote called What To Do, Part 2. He, along with others run work for cash projects that focus on rebuilding much needed infrastructure. This gives the locals an alternative revenue source. It takes knowledge, stealth, and intuitiveness to do this. BabaTim and his crew are some of the many who are providing an option.