Posted by lex, on August 2, 2008
Here’s an interesting read on Afghanistan written for the West Point department of social sciences by retired Army General Barry McAffrey in his capacity as an “adjunct professor of international affairs” (pdf document **).
The General’s bottom line:
- Afghanistan is a chocolate mess. Eventually we are going to have to get around to the issue of opium production.
- The Afghan people overwhelmingly reject the Taliban vision, but, while most place great faith in US armed forces they don’t have much in their own government and view with suspicion the commitment of some of our NATO allies to seeing the enterprise through.
- Those of our allies that are willing to fight (including the Afghan National Army) are unbeatable in combat. Expect the Taliban to turn increasingly to terrorist-style attacks.
- 2009 is pivotal. The Taliban and their allies are going to up the ante on encircling the capital and making Afghanistan a failed state, with potentially disastrous consequences. Provincial Afghan government is not up to the task of governance.
- US reinforcements, military and financial, made a difference. The contributions of our allies have not kept pace.
- There is no unity of command; NATO – while irreplaceable and crucial to our success – is more a political alliance than a military one.
His bottom line conclusion is that this is going to take a long, long time but that we cannot afford to fail.
Read the whole thing.
Update : Since I’m on the topic of good wars, here’s a good set of slides (** 12 MB pdf doc, gomen) showing how that “other” war is going. [** 12/-6/20 – dead link – Ed.