Stephen Harper, Feb. 21. “Well, I think a lot of people in the past have been suggesting that, you know, victory is the complete defeat of the insurgency and the replacement of a failed state in Afghanistan with a modern liberal democracy. I don’t think that’s realistic. I think what we should be aiming for in Afghanistan is a viable state that respects, you know, obviously some democratic norms, but I think ultimately the insurgency will last a long time. Afghanistan, through most of its history has been an untamed country. So I think the idea we’re going to wipe out an insurgency is completely unrealistic.”

Stephen Harper, Mar. 1. “We’re not going to win this war just by staying. We’re not going to — in fact, my own judgment, Fareed, is, quite frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency. Afghanistan has probably had — my reading of Afghanistan history, it’s probably had an insurgency forever, of some kind. What has to happen in Afghanistan is, we have to have an Afghan government that is capable of managing that insurgency and improving its own governance.”

Barack Obama, today. “I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you … to defeat an enemy that heeds no borders or laws of war, we must recognize the fundamental connection between the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan … There is an uncompromising core of the Taliban. They must be met with force, and they must be defeated … we will use all elements of our national power to defeat al Qaeda, and to defend America, our allies, and all who seek a better future.”

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