In a piece that is certain to stir up some controversy today, conservative heavyweight George Will questions what the hell we are still doing in Afghanistan. This follows the month with the most casualties during the 8-year war with no end in sight. From George Will:
U.S. strategy — protecting the population — is increasingly troop-intensive while Americans are increasingly impatient about “deteriorating” (says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) conditions. The war already is nearly 50 percent longer than the combined U.S. involvements in two world wars, and NATO assistance is reluctant and often risible.I really don't have much to criticize George Will for on this. His arguments are based on facts and our lack of clear objectives, but maybe General McChrystal come up with a more suitable strategy with his recent report to CENTCOM and the Pentagon. I don't pretend that I have some master plan, but at least the guy who is supposed to has a good-looking set of pants.
U.S. strategy is “clear, hold and build.” Clear? Taliban forces can evaporate and then return, confident that U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains. Hence nation-building would be impossible even if we knew how, and even if Afghanistan were not the second-worst place to try: The Brookings Institution ranks Somalia as the only nation with a weaker state.
Military historian Max Hastings says Kabul controls only about a third of the country — “control” is an elastic concept — and “ ‘our’ Afghans may prove no more viable than were ‘our’ Vietnamese, the Saigon regime.”