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About that "Alternate Universe"

Last week, Steve Schippert wrote about the revelation that the President and General McChrystal had had just one briefing on the Afghan situation while the White House and the Military debated strategy and the merits of ramping up the number of troops committed to that theater of operations.

Evidence of what seems to be a continuing "difference of opinion" about our role in Afghanistan is shown now by
National Security Adviser James Jones stating that he did not believe that the country was backsliding into Taliban control.

"I don't foresee the return of the Taliban," Jones told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, "And I want to be very clear that Afghanistan is not in danger - imminent danger -- of falling." "The key in Afghanistan," Jones also told King, "is to have a triad of things happen simultaneously." In addition to security, the country needs economic development and "good governance and the rule of law," Jones said.

Thus, Afghanistan and the role of the U.S. in the region remains the subject of debate. Also clearly, the question of the relative importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the future stability of the area is in the balance. The bombings in Afghanistan continue to show that a war indeed rages there. But the Taliban likely does not recognize the artificial border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The National Security Advisor also commented that Gen. McChrystal's recommendation (to add 40,000 troops) was "his opinion" of "what he thinks his role within that strategy is." It was a few years ago that some people considered the Taliban to be kaput and that the people in Afghanistan had "never had it so good." National Security Adviser Jones also "suggested" that military advice should go through the chain of command.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal...warned bluntly last week in a London speech that a strategy for defeating the Taliban narrower than the one he is advocating would be ineffective and "short-sighted." The comments effectively rejected a policy option that senior White House officials, including Vice President Biden, are seriously considering nearly eight years after the U.S. invasion.

It should be interesting to see what the passage of time tells us about the longevity of the Taliban, its trans-Afghan/Pakistan resurgence. "Chaois-istan?" It might be time to start believing in the tooth fairy.