From the outset of this blog, I have remained a supporter of the efforts of our government and NATO nations to try and change the course of a culture mired in a medieval epoch that retarded it's advancement into modernity and even more troubling and dangerous for humanity, remained a refuge for those who wished to destroy and retard the advancement, that most of the world has seen in the past half-century.
That is why after careful consideration of the events of the past year, coupled with the total lack of progress in changing the political landscape in Afghanistan, and the failure of our own forces to be able to both penetrate the mindset, as well as understand the most basic tenants of the culture they are trying to nurture, has led me to conclude that is is time to stop, and dramatically change course in Afghanistan.
I ignored the call to change courses two years ago, when George Will wrote this in the Washington Post, August 31, 2009.
U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000, to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.
So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.
At the time, I took Will to task for abandoning the children, and especially the future generations of young women of Afghanistan to a life with no future. Several things have happened in the past two years to finally bring me to declare that Will was right in his recommendation to pull back and in a phrase, practice what could be termed "diplomacy by cruise missile." Harsh and unfeeling as that appears, it makes sense that if we pull back, and make it plainly known to whoever ends up claiming to govern Afghanistan, that as long as they don't harbor those factions that threaten the world, including growing opium, or terrorists, that how they govern their countrymen is the choice of the people, whom have proven able to cast off any faction who tries to impose an unpopular rule set. Breaking those conditions, will bring a rain of missiles, or surgical strikes by special Op's teams to eliminate the threat. Hence we would be operating under the same rule set that Afghan's have lived with since before the Age of Alexander the Great.Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck's decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop.
Several events, including this from Tim Lynch, who's experience in Afghanistan is legendary, and sums up ten years in Afghanistan with three pictures.