The administration should be in no doubt that unless corruption in Afghanistan is curbed at the national and local level, we are going to lose the war. Association with the CIA has given some Afghan officials a sense of impunity, which threatens Gen. Petraeus’s hearts-and-minds effort. Fighting corruption doesn’t mean publicly shaming Karzai or dramatically arresting his top officials. Backroom persuasion and pressure by Gen. Petraeus and Karl Eikenberry, the US ambassador, would be more effective.
Phillips is the author of “Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned” (Naval Institute Press, 2008).