03 May 2011

Sound Off! Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

Sound off! Now that OBL got capped and is enjoying his 72 Virginians, do we...

...declare success, pack up and leave Afghanistan?

...stick around and try to build a funtioning state, even if it means another 10-20 years?

Let's have your thoughts in the comments!

By: Brant

1 comment:

Guardian said...

The death of OBL is not going to stop AQ or the Taliban. Like drug cartels and criminal gangs, as soon as one boss dies, another rises to take his place.

So, I think we should try to do a (relatively) quick build-up of Afghan security forces and hand-off to them ASAP, as we did in Iraq. Afghanistan may collapse 2 weeks after the last US/NATO trooper leaves, but so be it. People are responsible for their own government and largely get the government that they deserve (that applies to us Americans as well :)).

Simultaneously, we should continue to pursue an aggressive counter-terrorism campaign to suppress al-Qaeda and its spin-offs, with SOF, the intelligence community, and precision air power in the lead. We should also be prepared to conduct medium- to large-scale expeditionary actions (like the first 90 days of OEF or Israel's occasional incursions into Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza) IOT preempt or retaliate for any terrorist attacks.

I call this the "Israeli strategy." Israel has faced a terrorist threat since its inception over 50 years ago and recognizes the futility of attempting to "reform" its hostile neighbors. It has pragmatically taken a firm defensive posture and a full-spectrum of offensive operations as needed to suppress the hostile actors.

I just don't buy counter-insurgency theory in an environment like Afghanistan. Frankly, the religious, ethnic, and tribal motivations for violence and other misbehavior are too deep-seated (for now) to be overcome by COIN and other development strategies. Mindsets have to be changed. That is difficult to do in the best circumstances and is almost impossible when we are hand-cuffed by politically-correct constraints like respect for the local mythology and superstitions that are such a large part of the problem.

The kind of ethnic, tribal, and religious violence that is so prevalent in the Third World and occasionally "leaks out" into the First World (as on 9/11/01) was once prevalent in the civilized Western world as well. I think the trauma of WW2 was a large factor in Europe out-growing this behavior. I hope that the Third World will, one day, out-grow it too, but that will have to happen at its own pace. Perhaps we could force what are essentially barbarian societies to rapidly evolve, as the Roman Empire did at its hey-day, but we lack the political will to even try.

-- Guardian