Wednesday, September 02, 2009

No Will for Afghanistan

When a major conservative commentator comes out against a war, much like William F. Buckley came out against Iraq, people take notice. Yesterday, George Will did that on Afghanistan.

Unlike Buckley, Will did not reject involvement completely:
Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.

So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.
The main point Will brings to the table is the simple fact that an "effective central government" has never happened in Afghanistan. Even when the Taliban allegedly were "in charge", they weren't. The warlords were.

Are we prepared to dedicate hundreds of thousands of American troops for decades in order to establish an effective central government in a country which has never had one? Remember, this is not Iraq, which has a history of effective central governments.

Frankly, it doesn't matter if we have world support in our efforts in Afghanistan. Bush was wrong to assume we could do in Afghanistan what we did in Iraq. Obama is wrong to assume the same failed policy.


William R. Barker said...

"Bush was wrong to assume we could do in Afghanistan what we did in Iraq. Obama is wrong to assume the same failed policy."



Justine Nicholas Valinotti said...

So much for Obama "the peace candidate," eh?

At least he helps me to remember why I left the left for libertarianism.

OK, I'll cut the sarcasm. Seriously, intervening in Afghanistan will do just about as much to make this country more secure as invading Iraq did. And it will do just about as much to bring a stable central government to Afghanistan, if such a thing is possible

Before the 1991 war, Iraq not only had a stable central government; it was one of the few countries in the world that was self-sufficient in both fuel and food. Now oil fields are smoking ruins and people have to beg, borrow and steal in order to eat. What do you think American military involvement will do to the Afghan economy or environment, or to the lives of its people?

Finally: The ancient Greeks, Ottomans, British and Soviets couldn't win a war in Afghanistan. What makes this country think we can do it?

Oh, wait a minute: Victory doesn't matter. Just staying involved will line the pockets of Cheyney and other members of the political/military/industrial/financial plutocracy.

EdMcGon said...

Justine, the only thing I'd add to what you said is that the plutocracy has Obama in it too. It's not a Republican or Democrat thing. It's both groups.

William R. Barker said...

Don't forget Will's column on Iraq:

Oh... and off topic...