This morning on KIRO/Seattle, I spoke with Jere Van Dyk about President Obama’s announcement that he’s sending 30,000 more US troops into Afghanistan. Van Dyk — a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council and CBS News consultant — authored “In Afghanistan” based on his many visits to that nation (more than just about any other American journalist).

I asked him whether he thinks escalating the war is a good idea, whether he believes that we’ll only be there for a few more years, and what he would classify as “bringing the war to a successful conclusion” (to use the President’s words from his West Point speech).

As to the threat posed by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, I referred to a quote by National Security Advisor General James Jones, who said on CNN one month ago that there are fewer than 100 Al Qaeda remaining in that nation, with no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either the US or our allies. I asked Van Dyk whether the new mission is to get them all, or are we worried about those numbers growing under Taliban rule once we leave. And if that’s the case, can we ever leave Afghanis in charge of their own country, something they have never shown the ability to take responsibility for?

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