Friday, October 23, 2015

Between Victory and Defeat

I've been unsure of whether President Obama's decision to leave a small force in Afghanistan when he leaves is too little to win. I suspected it was too little but wanted to hear from those who are more in the know.

We have one thumbs down judgment in:

The headlines should read: “Obama to slash U.S. troops in Afghanistan by over 40% weeks before he hands over responsibility to a new President.” Instead they say: “Obama extends U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.” Talk about controlling the narrative.

We’re missing the plot here. The President announced on Thursday the most irresponsible decision he could have made about Afghanistan — second only to the promise he had made earlier to pull almost all U.S. troops. The right decision would have been to keep forces at current levels, or, better, send reinforcements.

Kagan also notes that without our air power to atomize the enemy, they can now mass for attacks. Which makes defense much more difficult as I noted oh so long ago during the Iraq War.

I do trust Kagan's judgment. But for now I'll just say that President Obama didn't make the worst decision by trying not to lose during his term. And he has time to make a better decision before he leaves.

And with American troops still scheduled to remain after his term ends, his successor has a chance to make a good decision and aim for victory.

Unless it all goes belly up before 2017. I don't suspect it will, but you never know.

After all, South Vietnam was defeated when we similarly failed to provide the air and logistics support we promised after we left.

But our enemies don't rise to the level of the North Vietnamese Army. So I'm not defeatist.

Pity the "good" war has come to this.