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General McChyrstal Asks for More Troops in Afghanistan

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 09:12 AM EDT

There really wasn’t much of a chance the he wouldn’t have asked for more troops, but looking at how many countries tried and failed in their military actions in Afghanistan would give anyone with a brain a cautious feeling about sending more soldiers in.

General McChrstal seems to realize this all too well, and even said “Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it.” Which at least gives me some hope that he knows exactly what he is talking about, though I cannot help but feel that any victory in Afghanistan will be short-lived. The country is not united in any meaningful way, the local (if not national) governments are so corrupt that many like the Taliban better, and of course drugs are their major export. Quite a few problems there.

Many living far from the cities govern themselves, and see little problem with crossing borders with other countries where no one is, because lets face it, who puts border guards in the mountains where there are no roads.

To me, one of the most important things General McChrystal wrote was “We run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing tactical wins that cause civilian casualties or unnecessary collateral damage. The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves.”

Well thank heavens someone remembers Vietnam. While some point to the fact that al-Qaeda no longer is in Afghanistan as a darn good reason to leave, how long would it be before they simply went back across the border to their old stomping grounds if we were to pull our forces out now? I know that argument has the flaw of leading to a never-ending conflict, but total defeat of an enemy is not necessary for victory. Only ruining the Taliban’s operational efficiency is really necessary (halting the drug trade, or shifting it to a competitor). As regrettable as the choice is, for now it seems a necessary evil for us to remain there. We will never of course defeat the Taliban, but perhaps that should not even be our aim. Redirection is often the best tactic, though difficult to implement.

With our debts increasing and our abilities to fund such actions as rebuilding other nations at risk, I cannot stand the thought of all the money, military power, and time wasted in Iraq, where none of the terrorists were. And then of course there were the people that were killed, both theirs and ours.