“Tin Cups,” Is It?

An AP article certainly makes one attitude plain.

In a piece otherwise about US efforts to get other nations to help pay for the costs of developing, training, and equipping an indigenous Afghan army, the AP’s anonymous writer says,

U.S. officials have had their tin cups out for months.  Marc Grossman, the top State Department official for Afghanistan, recently hit up European nations….

While there is an element of begging in the manner of President Obama’s entreaties to other nations that they honor their obligations; it’s hardly a matter of tin cup-holding to insist that those nations do, in fact, honor their obligations.

The writer also notes that

…someone has to pay for that army in an era of austerity budgets and defense cutbacks.

It’s true enough that times are tough for everyone.  They’re tough not only for the nations that have to be begged to honor their commitments, though; they’re also tough for the women and children—and men—of Afghanistan, and they’ll be especially so after the US, NATO, and other participating nations leave.

It’s also true enough, moreover, that these straits, while not the result of the original purpose of the US’ invasion of Afghanistan, have become obligations due to the mission creep in our involvement.

A lesson here, aside from the unseemly need to press NATO and others in the present involvement to satisfy their obligations—which shame is on those who must be pressed—is to not allow such coarse mission creep the next time.  And there will be a next time, since the terrorists don’t agree that the war is over, or there will be a new Dark Age descended.

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