Monday, September 21, 2009

Afghanistan Assessment

Here's the McChrystal report (with some held back for security at the request of the government).

And this is the proposal for a surge put out by the Institute for the Study of War.

I am skeptical of McChrystal's assertion that we will lose if we don't start winning in the next year. I'd rather start the process of finally defeating the enemy sooner, but I don't believe there is an expiration date for trying to win under the new circumstances we find ourselves facing. Too many here would use that argument as an excuse to run out the clock on that year and then claim it is too late--darn the luck.

The Kagan proposal seems reasonable and focuses on putting troops into critical areas. I had my own notion early in the year. I used similar notions when I looked at numbers. And as long as our objective isn't to create a modern nation-state governed from Kabul, we could win with such a strategy--assuming we can also do something about the Taliban inside Pakistan. Will Pakistan follow through?

I am not convinced that we must have 40,000 more troops to win in Afghanistan. And I worry a lot about our supply lines into landlocked Afghansitan. But if our military thinks it could win with 40,000 more, I think we owe it to them to grant the request.

What is farcical is the idea that we can count on any of our allies not now currently fighting to commit their troops to actually fighting. Our allies are sliding out.

So if the Kagan plan counts on our current allies stepping up, forget it--we'll need American or Afghan forces instead.

I eagerly await the revised Obama administration notions of what our objective in Afghanistan is. I kind of thought they had a vague idea back when the president ordered 20,000 or so more troops to the place. But apparently not.

I don't even want to hear another complaint that Bush invaded Iraq without an adequate plan.