I assume that Fareed is college educated.
Does he know what exponential notation is?
But I do know that it is taken as an article of faith here in Germany by my neighbors, in an unmistakable, "we told you so" tone, that we have gravely damaged ourselves by our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was originally a supporter those wars and have come to regret that position.
It is difficult for me to see how squandering $1 trillion has made us safer from the next 19 fanatics with box cutters. It is easy for me to see how our finances have been further damaged. It is easy for me to see how potentially dangerous it is to our liberties to submit to domestic surveillance. It is even easier to see how dangerous it is for this particular President of the United States to be vested with the potential power to incarcerate without trial and even to murder Americans with impunity.
It is also easy for me to see how boots on the ground for long periods of occupation is a strategy which could be pleasing only to the ghost of Osama bin Laden. I cannot imagine a more happy sequel to 9/11 for Obama than to see America squander its blood, treasure, and goodwill into the Sands of Iraq and Afghanistan to no lasting positive effect in the war on terror.
That is not to say that there is no occasion in which we might wage war. Our real enemy since before 9/11 was and remains Iran. Today, as these two wars wind down with very little to show on the positive side of the column and a huge debt that will go on for generations to be seen on the negative side of the column, Iran is stronger than ever, a caliphate is being born before our eyes extending from the Chinese border to the Atlantic shores of Africa, Iran is about to acquire the bomb essentially unimpeded, and the specter of weapons of mass destruction is not limited to Iran but they are now the very real reality in Syria. We have tried to win the war on terror, which is an asymmetrical war, by waging conventional war. That is a self-defeating strategy. That must stop.
We have also fought the war against terror as an intelligence war and in that we have largely succeeded, that must continue.
We have justified the war against Iraq as a war to prevent the bad guys from getting weapons of mass destruction. The principal was sound but the application was misplaced. The problem is, our emphasis on Iraq was wrong from the beginning and has now made it possible for a demagogue like Obama to acquiesce in Iran getting the bomb. It now appears that sarin gas will be potentially loosed on the world from whoever succeeds to power there. Both of these events would be calamities to the security of the United States. These are fronts on the war on terror which we must fight and win.
The war on terror is certainly not over, we are losing not winning. Part of the war on terror requires us to conserve our resources, including our blood as well as our treasure, to win the crucial battles. We have violated the first principle of warfare in Iraq and by our attempt to nation build in Afghanistan. Do we have enough treasure left to deal with Iran and Syria?
Do we have the political will, or have we poured that in the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan too ?