Saturday, September 26, 2009


There is an intense debate about our war there right now. Do we send more troops, do we withdraw, can we win, what is winning there?

We remember the general who said that we needed 300,000 or more troops to succeed in Iraq. Most experts agree that he was right but since this statement conflicted with the Bush-Rumsfeld easy war view, the general was soon our of the service.

If President Obama agrees with the military's request for more troops, we may have about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. Since Afghanistan is bigger than Iraq, with much impossible terrain, more ethnic diversity, more tribes, little government, little infrastructure, and a history of repelling outsiders, how can we hope to succeed with only 100,000 troops?

The task of finding the right strategy and making the right decisions is extremely difficult. Obviously, I don't have the knowledge or the wisdom to decide, but I would hope that one alternative course would be feasible. Given that we can't depend on the government in Kabul, make a deal with a local chief or warlord, or more than one of these, to cooperate in our establishing a strong base in their territory. Then keep sufficient troops and other assets there to enable us to prevent return of Al Qaeda or other terrorists and to monitor and take necessary action to help Pakistan resist intrusion or insurgency.