Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Afghanistan Winnable?

Sure, says Max Boot in the LA Times. No problemo.

The key is for policymakers to ignore the naysayers. They will get louder over time, because, just as in Iraq, a surge in the number of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan will inevitably bring about a short-term spike in casualties. But if President Obama doesn't lose his nerve, the odds are that a classic counterinsurgency strategy, supported by adequate troop levels, can turn around another failing war effort.

Boot has no real remedy except to say if we do a "surge" like in Iraq we will prevail. Smiliar to the Bush administration, it's old the line of: "We know it's going to be difficult, but we need the fortitude to see it through." I'm sorry but that's not good enough. It does not address any real issues. For example, a glaring omission of the Pakistan problem.

It doesn't bring the real arithmetic of the overall situation. Here's what they need to tell us: It will cost x amount of lives and cost y amount of dollars, and take z more years to achieve victory. Then they need to quantify what exactly a victory will look like. If things were laid out clearly, nobody would have approved this in the first place.

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