One word shines through the spin surrounding this week's Barack Obama policy review on Afghanistan. The word is exit. Before he became president, Obama was much taken by the idea that Afghanistan was a good and winnable war, a usefully macho contrast to his retreatism on Iraq. But in a military briefing at the time, he asked what was the exit strategy from Kabul and was met with silence. He has got the point.
In Britain, Gordon Brown too has no answer. Whether speaking to troops in the field or to the House of Commons, he incants the unconvincing line that the war he is waging, and plainly not winning, against the Taliban is about "terrorism on the streets of Britain". He cannot believe this any more than do his listeners. His platitudinous references to Afghanistan in the counter-terrorism strategy launched yesterday are evidence of this, complete with its absurd insistence on "poppy eradication".