Eleven years, 2000 Americans dead, 17,644 wounded, $1.2 trillion spent, untold collateral damage (as it’s called) to innocent life, property, and American prestige—and here’s U.S. leaders, now saying the best bet for victory in Afghanistan hinges upon the Coalition’s exodus in 2014.Still, the picture is muddled.
The New York Times reports Monday:
The once ambitious American plans for ending the war are now being replaced by the far more modest goal of setting the stage for the Afghans to work out a deal among themselves in the years after most Western forces depart, and to ensure Pakistan is on board with any eventual settlement.
In the same breath, Marine General John Allen tells CBS’s Lara Logan she is “speaking the truth” when she says American troops are suffering “insider attacks” because of Pakistan’s support for American enemies.
Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, tells Logan that “you know, we’re willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign. But we’re not willing to be murdered for it.” So it looks like the best way to “assist” security in the region is—to vacate the region.
Further down in the Times article, a group of unnamed “senior coalition officers” say:
Among America’s commanding generals here, from Stanley A. McChrystal and David H. Petraeus to today’s John R. Allen, it has been an oft-repeated mantra that the United States is not going to kill its way out of Afghanistan. [The officers] said that the Afghanistan war, like most insurgencies, could only end with a negotiation.
And that’ll be the first time in history a country invaded another in order to negotiate. The officers call the Taliban “resilient,” they also say Obama’s “surge” of 30,000 troops failed to strike a “defining” blow against the enemy.
But Obama’s surge was based on false pretenses.
The troop increase largely resulted from pressure by, among countless others, “runaway” General Stanley McCrystal—whose, it ought to be mentioned, “Government In A Box” idea, essentially the backbone of his strategy, was not only a failure, but it was like watching the world’s most predictable car wreck in super slow motion.
Afghan’s rural tribes, their laws, and their way of life formed over hundreds of years, but here comes McCrystal with his fast food government like change occurs at the tip of 30,000 extra M16’s.
It was the drive-thru bacon double cheeseburger of terrible ideas.
The people rising up against tyranny, both American and Tribal, and saying “we’ve had enough.”
The New York Times said at the time, “The problem, of course, is that governments-in-a-box that are ready to roll in can also be rolled out — or rolled over.” Another problem was assuming Karzai’s “federal government” was even remotely responsible for what goes on in the more rural regions of Afghanistan.
So here is America, post invasion, post government in a box, post surge, lacking political will, walking paranoid because of “insider attacks,” finally considering “victory” a matter of retreat and exploitation of “internal diplomacy”—in other words giving in to a sort of defeat, as Senator John McCain and others had defined it, so long ago.
Somehow, this idea of internal diplomacy, though it existed, was not enough in 2001. In 2011 though, it’s America’s only road to victory.
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