afghanistan.jpgHarvard scholar Stephen Walt argues in hisForeign Policy piece, "Why Isn't Anyone Talking about Afghanistan?" that hawkishness is rewarded by the national security establishment and that those agitating for prudence or moderation are shunned or called "weak-willed idealists."

The Obama campaign four years ago called Afghanistan the 'right war' and Iraq the 'wrong war.' Those who sat on top of the foreign policy/national security food chain in Washington were those who drew their power from the Afghanistan conflict.  Former National Security Adviser Jim Jones, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, General David Petraeus, then US Ambassador to Afghanistant General Karl Eikenberry, General Stanley McChrystal, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and others leaned in to the Afghanistan terrain in part because it was a national priority but also because that was where status could be claimed.

But as Walt describes, few are talking about Afghanistan today even though Obama administration supporters of the war incessantly justified it with rationalizations about preventing a state-sized terrorist safe haven, supporting Afghan women's rights, spreading democracy, or shoring up US credibility.