Bacevich sees one of the root problems as a religious one (he is religious himself):
“…a dispute about God’s relationship to politics. The proposition that the two occupy separate spheres finds particular favor among the democracies of the liberal, developed West. The proposition that God permeates politics finds particular favor in the Islamic world.”
Clearly, this is a problem, and a deep one. Also::
“At its root, this is an argument about what it means to be modern.”
As such, in this view, Islam is just too backwards to create stable modern democratic states (with separation of church and state) as we know these states here in the West. Our military involvement is a ship crashing against the rocks of a pre-modern, perhaps incapable-of-producing-a-recognizable-democracy Islamic society. We need to pull back, live up to our ideals and freeze the worst of the militants in a cold-war like, ideological struggle:
“…the goal of U.S. national security strategy ought to be limited but specific: to insulate Americans from the fallout. Rather than setting out to clear, hold and build thousands of tiny, primitive villages scattered across the Afghan countryside, such a strategy should emphasize three principles: decapitate, contain and compete.”
The strategy is outlined a little further in his piece. He is a welcome voice of dissent.
What would the strategy look like further? Is Islam incompatible with democracy? Should we frame the discussion as a religious or ideological struggle? What are the dangers?
See Also On This Site: Bacevich has been saying something similar for a few years now: From Bloggingheads: Andrew Bacevich And Heather Hurlburt Discuss Afghanistan And Pakistan From Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power”
Christians are putting up a defense of the religious roots of separation of church and state, but will that drive us into unnecessary conflict?: From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism