Consider Afghanistan as an investment proposition. Initially, we had to make a short-term outlay to shatter a cut-throat competitor’s business model. But then, without even reviewing the books, we conducted a hostile takeover of a huge derelict factory (where our rival had briefly squatted) that had been a chronic money pit for every previous owner.

As we try to modernize the Afghan plant, local managers steal us blind and the workers sabotage our efforts. Even if we break the Taliban “union,” the labor is unskilled and the product line is worthless. We’ll have to subsidize this factory forever.

Does that make sense to you?

Really, what does the Obama administration hope to do in Afghanistan? Establish a stable democracy in a land where blood vendettas last for centuries and tribal loyalties trump all? Force a secular constitution on a society that prefers religious law? Develop a modern economy where running water is a rarity? Why?