Posted by lex, on June 16, 2010
Few certainties but this:
(This) is a duel in strategic endurance, in which it is not possible to predict the level of Taliban capability inside either Afghanistan or Pakistan, Al Qa’ida’s endurance, the level of lasting Afghan and GIRoA support for the war, allied support, Pakistani support, or the support of Congress and the American people. There are also cases of sudden, unpredictable and catalytic collapse on the part of both governments and insurgents. The only way to know is to actually fight the war…
One thing is clear: The war will be lost if 2011 is treated as a deadline, and/or if the GIRoA and the Afghan people, the Pakistani government and people, and our allies perceive it as a deadline. The same will be true if the timing of the campaign, and the impact of US and allied actions, are defined in terms of unrealistic expectations. No amount of planning, discussion, and analysis can set clear deadlines for this war.
None are spared, and the future looks gloomy:
This is not likely to be a century of confrontations between Western powers fighting conventional wars on their own territory. It is almost certain to be a century where the US must learn to fight irregular wars and exercises in armed nation building whether it likes it or not. If nothing else, the case for the war in Afghanistan may be that it is the prelude to an almost inevitable future.
Read the whole thing.