Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sorting Out the Facts of Afghanistan

By Ivan Eland
October 20, 2009

Washington’s corridors of power are abuzz with the complexities of the situation in Afghanistan. If only we send 40,000 more troops, say the military brass, the U.S. could have some hope of turning the situation around and preventing Afghanistan from becoming a haven for terrorists yet again.

Read on.


RichardKanePA said...

Ivan Eland paraphrased “If only we send in “40,000" more troops” . . . “the US would have some hope in turning the situation around.” This is unfair to General Stanley McChystal’s original bombshell.

General Stanley McChrystal statement on 40 thousand more troops should be examined more closely. He was given credit for the relative peace now in Iraq, and his insight is well worth considering. He asked that US and Afghan forces be embedded together, eating and sleeping together and that US troops risk their lives in order to try to make civilians safer.

Usually in the past US soldiers took very small risks, except to try to save a US buddy’s life. So McChrystal was saying that if US soldiers behaved perfectly and the US totally committed, in all our focus like during World War II we might win.

In Afghanistan, people have frequently changed sides, and Karzai is hopelessly associated with foreign invaders. Embedded Afghans could easily win amnesty for their family and themselves, if the Taliban imprisoned them by killing their American buddies.

In Iraq al-Zarqawi was such a goon that even bin Laden asked him to quit. Some Sunni fighters got so upset with him that they joined the Americans, and had a big price on their heads by al-Zarqawi. If al Zarqawi had offered them amnesty in return for killing their American buddies they ended up embedded with, there would have been no reason for them to believe him.

Obama withdrew US troops from the cities in Iraq under the condition that they would not return, unless asked or were witnessing a renewed tit-for-tat blood bath between Shiites and Suniis. Since the Shiites are more or less in charge and don’t want US troops back in they haven’t responded again to al Qaeda suicide attacks by randomly attacking Shiites. So finally the ethnic bloodbath is over.

So now sadly instead of cheering we forget about Iraq and instead blame Obama for everything that goes wrong in Afghanistan.

I think we should encourage McChrystal to expand on his insights instead of dismissing him as a super-hawk. He is nothing like a General MacArthur pulling at President Eisenhower.

There are ideologies whose only interest in Afghanistan is that it might trip up the progressive agenda hear at home. They are not soldiers in the field whose honest insight needs to be treated with respect.


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