“The prevailing strategy in Afghanistan is based on the classic anti-insurrection doctrine: to build a central government, commit it to the improvement of the lives of its people, and then protect the population until that government’s own forces are able, with our training, to take over.”
But despite our efforts (we have been misallocating resources…largely due to the Iraq War ), the central government we helped to build is mired in corruption. And I suspect it isn’t just the Karzai government that’s corrupt, but the corruption is due to other more fundamental issues which our military may not be able to address. The basic levels of national identity, economic and educational development as well as infrastructure (the ring road?) may not have been met to build a functioning government for which the worst Afghans can lay down their weapons (or be forced to by an Afghan military)
Kissinger finishes with:
“For the immediate future, it is essential to avoid another wrenching domestic division and to conduct the inevitable debate with respect for its complexity and the stark choices confronting our country.”
But our domestic political divisions include a reasonable debate about whether or not the broader goals (a viable Afghan government, or something holding Afghanistan together beyond the Taliban’s version of Islam) can be reached by the military (and those who likely have the best understanding of what’s going on on the ground).
It’s still stark…and can any sitting U.S. president allow the chance of Al-Qaeda (and even Bin Laden) to come back…?
Addition: Pakistani troops take action in South Waziristan.
Related On This Site: From Bloomberg: More Troops To Afghanistan? A Memo From Henry Kissinger To Gerald Ford?…From The NY Times Video: ‘A Schoolgirl’s Odyssey’…From The WSJ: Graham, Lieberman and McCain “Only Decisive Force Can Prevail In Afghanistan…From Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power”