Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan after 9/11, talking with citizens and warlords alike. Now, a decade later, he gives a TED Global talk in Edinburgh and asks: Why are Western and coalition forces still fighting there? He criticizes the surreal optimism that every one of the last six years has been described by generals and politicians as the "decisive year" for Afghanistan. For this year, he brings up a slide with a quote from German Foreign Minister Westerwelle. (Reminds me of The Friedman unit coined by Atrios)
Rory Stewart is a member of the UK Parliament. He joined the Foreign Office after school, then left to begin a years-long series of walks across the Muslim world. In 2002, his extraordinary walk across post-9/11 Afghanistan resulted in his first book, The Places in Between. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he served as a Deputy Governorate Co-Ordinator in Southern Iraq for the coalition forces, and later founded a charity in Kabul.