As readers of this blog know, I am deeply opposed to the military escalation and deluded attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan. Yet some individuals can do good even in the middle of an overall bad policy, and if there is any one such individual from the outside I would bet on, it would probably be Clare Lockhart.
The current issue of Esquire has a good cheat sheet on Clare. Amidst the usual Esquire fare of scantily-clad, objectified-for-maximizing-male-readership 22-year-old "women we love," here's a serious intellectual who clocked in at #20 on the Foreign Policy Top Global Thinkers.
Clare also passed with flying colors the highly unscientific gut-feelings-check during a fascinating lunch discussion a couple months ago.
Clare insists on such common sense as: keep large foreign bureaucracies out of Kabul, and give aid and the power it coveys directly to local villagers. It's too late for her good insights on not cutting corners to reduce election fraud, which disastrously happened after her advice was disregarded. Maybe that will teach them a lesson to listen to Clare more this time around: we can desperately hope.