Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winning Already

I've always been puzzled by level of worry that even war supporters express over our chances for victory in Afghanistan. I thought we could win with the forces we already sent, while admitting that more forces in the current surge should allow us to win faster (with my frequent caution that I worry about our supply lines to landlocked Afghanistan).

Out top marine general in Afghanistan is feeling good about what we've done already:

U.S. forces have driven the Taliban from most towns and villages in the strategic Helmand province of Afghanistan, leaving incoming troops with the mission of holding key areas and rebuilding the economy, Marine commanders say.

"They've taken on the Taliban, the insurgency, right in the heartland, and they've defeated them," Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Mills said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Commanders warn that Taliban forces remain dangerous and could mount a resurgence. Six coalition soldiers were killed in attacks around the country Monday. Still, the developments in Helmand could have broad implications for the war because of the province's importance to the Taliban.

Much of the Taliban's leadership and support comes from the mostly Pashtun province and nearby Kandahar. Helmand, the country's largest province, also produces most of the country's poppy crop, which has helped fund the insurgency.

Recent attention has been focused on President Obama's orders to send about 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan this year. But an influx of Marines to Helmand province last year has produced dramatic results, raising hopes that the gains can be consolidated and spread elsewhere, Mills said.

We will win this war if we don't panic and fold our strong hand. The Taliban strategy relies on screwing up really angry faces and yelling really loud to terrify our reporters by looking too fearless and crazy to defeat.