Skip to comments.Obama's mixed Afghanistan messages
Posted on 06/17/2010 10:53:21 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
Choices are stark: Stick to the timetable and drawdown, or stick it out until the job is done. And so far, he has signaled intent to do both.
The news from Afghanistan has been bad lately. The military campaign to win control of Kandahar, the country's second-largest city, has slowed to a crawl. Taliban insurgents have filtered back into parts of southern Afghanistan that U.S. Marines had cleared in the spring. President Hamid Karzai, the erratic leader of Afghanistan's civilian government, has given only halfhearted support to the U.S.-led military effort and has done little to clean up the corruption that undermines public support for his regime.
Yet when Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the U.S. military commander in Kabul, delivered an assessment of the state of the war last week, he said very cautiously that he is succeeding at his initial goal: interrupting the Taliban's momentum.
"We see progress everywhere, but it's incomplete," McChrystal said. "It is slow, but it's positive."
in McChrystal's words lies the central dilemma President Obama will face later this year, when he reviews his policy in Afghanistan: The war isn't being lost anymore but it isn't being won yet, either.
When Obama agreed to send 30,000 more troops , he imposed an American timetable on the war. He gave generals a year to show results, saying he'd review the situation in December 2010. He also set a target date of July 2011 for starting to draw down troops.
But so far, Afghanistan has refused to operate on an American timetable, and that's unlikely to change. Experts in counterinsurgency the labor-intensive, winning hearts-and-minds form of warfare we are trying to wage say it typically takes at least a decade, not 18 months, of serious commitment to turn a country around.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
So much to say.
Thanks for the ping Jet Jaguar.
I don’t see a coherent pattern in this administrations policy on Afghanistan. I don’t see anyone willing to accept the reality of the situation. To bring about change there requires:
(1) A very long open ended commitment if you plan on doing a “hearts and minds” campaign.
(2) A very large loss of American and Afghanistan lives if we adopt a serious and vigorous search and destroy mission. Something our military is more able to do on a short term basis.
In either case it may still fail. We may never be able to win hearts and minds or we may never trully pacify the area by a large use of force. Of course, there are always hybrid options.
Whatever, a consistent and coherent policy needs to be adopted and followed....and it cannot be on a time table.
Like so many things, I don’t have answers, just questions. However, I do know that even an acceptable plan agressively pursued is better than an excellent one haphardly employed. You either have the stomach for a fight or you don’t. If you don’t have the stomach, then you need to be ready for the consequences of dodging the fight, if any. I don’t know.
It’s especially tough when you’re not allowed to shoot at the enemy.
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