Not Going to Win in Afghanistan

February 7, 2012

Linking to a commentary written by Daniel Davis, a Lieutenant Colonel “breaking ranks” from the official progress reports from the Afghan campaign. He says it’s not going anywhere near as well as the army says it is.

I can understand Davis’ frustration, but look at it from the perspective of the Afghans. We’re leaving. The “armed forces/police” of the central Afghan government are going to be no match for the Taliban/warlords that hold the real power in the country.

It would be stupid to stick your neck out in that situation. So, their long-term interest is to stay alive and their short-term interest is to take our money.

We are simply not going to win this one. I really regret believing that, but I do. To win this kind of “ideological” war you have to be ready to completely destroy the power structure of a country; much like we did in Japan and Germany. We fight wars much more nicely now, which is the principal reason we don’t win them anymore.

We’re just repeating (again) the “win their hearts and minds” strategy that worked so well in Vietnam. Peggy Noonan succinctly characterized it this past April.

“We think in Afghanistan we’re buying their love, but I have been there. We’re not even renting it.”

(The rest of the article is a cultural critique of America and well worth reading.)

In terms of winning wars; one could argue we did so in Iraq. Perhaps, but would we have considered World War II completely “won” had Germany and Japan not created stable, functioning Democracies and not swung to the US sphere of influence following the war? The objective in Iraq was not only to subdue a tyrant but also to create a Democratic pro-American regime.

The end we’re now working toward is to simply have changed which anti-American regime runs the country.

And this one is going to be largely allied with Iran. And the part that’s so allied is located where much of the oil is.



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