Stephens claims “we are in Afghanistan to defend core U.S. interests.” Presumably that includes destroying, or at least neutering, those who gave sanctuary and support to the 9/11 terrorists. That is, the Taliban. Stephens, correctly, notes
There’s one way—and only one way—the U.S. could get the Taliban to come to terms: a series of decisive military blows that give them no other option.
This is of course correct: nothing focuses the mind like a sound military defeat.
But two points: first, is it still in our “core interests” that we defeat the Taliban? Second, isn’t the only reason we would talk to the Taliban the political needs of Barack Hussein Obama? He’s already said that his primary concern vis a vis Afghanistan was losing the Democrat Party?
If we need to be in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban so as to prevent another 9/11, then, by all means, let’s do so: defeat them. Not build a nation where none has ever been. If the Taliban no longer pose that kind of threat, then why are we in Afghanistan to begin with?