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.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.
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.
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.