The Paper Pep Talk

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General Dave Petraeus has just sent his 140,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 97,000 Americans, a three-page status update. He praises them for their “tremendous work” in 2010 and warns “there is much hard work to be done in 2011.” He seems to hit all the right notes — the gains are fragile, and we must keep working closely with our Afghan partners — and doesn’t telegraph any upcoming shifts in strategy.

He says that allied forces will have to work with the government of President Hamid Karzai to help him eliminate the endemic corruption that is roiling the country, and lobs this hand-grenade: “In support of the latter effort, we will need to pursue initiatives to ensure that our contracting and procurement activities are part of the solution rather than a continuing part of the problem.” The long hard slog continues.