Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Beyond My Objectives

Strategypage writes that we have made great progress in nation-building in Afghanistan through our patience and despite cries by the Left that we faced sure defeat:

But come September 2007, six years later, the Afghan chieftains who lined up with America know they made a good decision. Fundamental change takes a long time, especially when a war-ravaged society like Afghanistan must expand the "human capital" of modernity -- produce the skilled teachers, accountants, electricians, nurses, policemen and farmers who brace stable, prosperous communities.

Truth be told, when we hit Afghanistan, my only goal was to wreck al Qaeda and not overthrow the Taliban. I did not foresee the success of of destroying the Taliban regime with our support for locals with money, special forces and CIA operators, and air power.

And since Afghan Moslems aren't really part of the main problem with Saudi-style Islamism, I was willing to rely on a policy that kept whatever friendly regime in power as long as it kept Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists again.

And after we hit Iraq, I was even less interested in nationbuilding in Afghanistan as long as we kept the place from being a terrorist haven. I didn't figure we'd spend the time necessary to have much of an impact on that tribal society nor did I think it was worth the effort. I was far more interested in the far more important question of winning in Iraq.

But we are succeeding beyond my ambitions for the Afghan campaign. Good for us.

That said, should we lose in our Iraq project to build a decent and hopefully democratic country, any nationbuilding success up to now in Afghanistan will be undone. Afghanistan is too peripheral of a Moslem state to affect Iraq if we had failed in nationbuilding in Afghanistan.

Face it, the "good war" can't be won if we fail in the "bad war."