Saturday, September 26, 2009

Afghanistan and reality

How come we can take an 18 year old American, induct him into the army, train him for 12 to 24 months and consider him ready to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan, but we can’t take an Afghan or Iraqi, who live in a culture of violence (note all the civilians with AK 47’s) and do the same?

We’ve been fighting in these two countries for 8 years and yet they don’t seem able to recruit enough of their own citizens to create an military to defend themselves.

If a key policy point for us is not to leave a government until it is able to defend itself, the fact that they haven’t accomplished this in 8 years leads to the conclusion that we’re never going to leave or that we’ll unilaterally pull out and watch all our efforts to create a stable government collapse.

The other impact of this is that recent discussions in Washington D.C. indicate the option of leaving Afghanistan precipitously is on the table, is that the Afghan civilians have no incentive to choose sides in their situation. If we leave they’ll be at the mercy of the Taliban. And, that’s not much mercy.

You can argue about all the training the Afghans need, everything from flying helicopters to maintaining a supply system, but that washes out when you see in both Iraq and Afghanistan their opponents don’t have these skills either. It’s an even match except that the insurgents may care more about winning than the government troops might.

It’s time to cut our losses and leave. It will be humiliating and another example of how we don’t stand behind out allies, but the same results will be experienced if we do it a number of years from now.

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