As kids, we used to race bicycles. I like to remember that I was the fastest with a close second, but it really has been a while. All of us had similar (bi)cycles, nothing fancy and we would randomly start racing, for example on or off our way to school or the soccerground. And the process of proving the best was relentlessly repetitive. I sort of remember figuring out that if I would extend the distance to cover, I could always win; the runner up would inevitably end up somewhere else, doing something else. The rest of the group would follow, in a herd. One day one of our friends showed up with a souped up cycle. We refused to let him participate in racing. We were around 10-15yrs then. We would try the cycle out and then refuse to race it. Actually we would refuse its company in our herd.
This seemingly simple and straightforward behaviour actually involves a very complex analytical process involving several factors. The angle I want to point out is that, if we chose to race this superior cycle, we would have to advance our machinery and we knew that was impossible. It would involve convincing our parents to buy us a similar cycle. All of us were from an equivalent economic background. Then, if we even allowed this cycle to stay in the group we would eventually start racing it. If we were forced to race it, which we prevented from happening, we would be forced to soup up our cycles. The ethics of the means would be compromised.
Thus, I disagree with Marc W. Herold's analysis of the Afghan policy of President Obama. There actually is a very intelligent reason to use footsoldiers against footsoldiers. Ofcourse, this juvenile instinct was lost in the higher order foreign policy making business, globally, forawhile. If you force me to prevail against your faster bicycle, you soon will be struggling to prevail against mine.