Frederick Kagan says the Afghanistan doomsayers are wrong





“DONT worry, we are not going to lose this war.”

These were the parting words to us from Brig. Gen. Sher Muhammad Zazai, commander of the 205th Corps of the Afghan National Army in Kandahar. He was echoing the sentiments of a group of village elders we had met days before in Khost Province, who assured us that they would never allow the Taliban to come back.

It is odd that the Afghans felt it necessary to reassure American visitors that all was far from lost. It reflected the fact that even in a country where electricity and running water are scarce, word of the defeatist hysteria now gripping some in the American political elite has spread.

No one in Afghanistan — from the American commander, Gen. David McKiernan, to those village elders — underestimates the difficulties that lie ahead. But no one we spoke to on an eight-day journey (arranged for us by Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the military’s Central Command) that took us from Kunar Province on the Pakistan border to Farah Province near the Iranian frontier doubted that we can succeed, or that we must do so.

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Randll Reese Besch - 3/18/2009

Leaving would be the logical and compassionate thing to do. But no. And Obama putting a mere 17-20,000 more soldiers won't make a bit of difference. Estimates are you would need 600-700,000 to make the kind of impact you would need using military force of arms. Will it be more vicious (under reported) bombing as in parts of Iraq? Use of poison gases and white phosphorous? Depleted uranium rounds too? Maybe the fuel-air bombs to soften them up? Scorched earth? Or will it be generous aid i.e. bribes to win their 'hearts and minds' to do so? Or a combination of the two types of coercion? Playing off one war lord against another?

How about this as radical. Full and utter pull out of all military forces except for embassies. End the Drug War in toto so that poppies can be at their pre-inflation price they are now. Concentrate on trade and civil relations over conflict and invasion. Don't expect it from Pres. Obama, man of pseudo-change.

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