Bacevich wonders why we’re in Afghanistan in such high numbers, when simply to frustrate Al-Qaeda might be all that’s reasonably justifiable:
“A sense of realism and a sense of proportion should oblige us to take a minimalist approach. As with Uruguay or Fiji or Estonia or other countries where U.S. interests are limited, the United States should undertake to secure those interests at the lowest cost possible.”
We’re getting in deeper, and Bacevich thinks it’s because of political reasons that might not serve our practical nor moral interests:
“The contrast between Washington’s preoccupation with Afghanistan and its relative indifference to Mexico testifies to the distortion of U.S. national security priorities induced by George W. Bush in his post-9/11 prophetic mode—distortions now being endorsed by Bush’s successor.”
True, there’s a lot of politics involved, and Obama inherited a lot of this, but politics and the military will evetually meet. I’m also a little less convinced of exactly how to balance our moral interests (how do we determine them, especially in war?) in Afghanistan. Yet, I too have been wondering what we’re doing there, why we’re ramping up, and have been a little afraid that democratic presidents inheriting wars have a lot to prove.
I’m not so sure about salvation, though:
“If the United States today has a saving mission, it is to save itself.”
See Also On This Site: Bacevich discussing some of his ideas: From Bloggingheads: Andrew Bacevich And Heather Hurlburt Discuss Afghanistan And Pakistan
The previous post with some lessons (or not) from Henry Kissinger on Vietnam: From Bloomberg: More Troops To Afghanistan? A Memo From Henry Kissinger To Gerald Ford?
From CSIS-Anthony Cordesman On “The Afghanistan Campaign: Can We Win?” Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”
From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington
And added recently from CSIS: Anthony Cordesman and fellows have a report here, entitled: “Resourcing For Defeat-Critical Failures In Planning, Programming, Budgeting And Resourcing The Iraq And Afghan Wars”