Hope in Afghanistan?

The Washington Times has an article out that says some folks in the military are starting to see progress from the troop surge.

“What is happening is, the Taliban’s freedom of movement,” he said. “We are literally taking away from them things they are used to. We are denying them some of the safe havens that they have in the south. We are denying them the support zones they’ve been operating out of with impunity.

“Support zones are up in the mountains, where they use villagers to help hide their weapons caches. Safe havens are up there, too, usually away from everybody, and we are denying them the use of those. We are interdicting and disrupting their operating areas, which had a tendency to focus on the roads quite a bit, and we’re interdicting what they’re doing there.”

But all is not sunshine and puppies:

Gen. Petraeus is on a schedule to show positive results by July 2011, when President Obama’s war strategy calls for the beginning of a troop exit.

The four-star general’s job may have gotten tougher last week, when James L. Jones, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, quit as Mr. Obama’s national security adviser. He will be succeeded by Thomas Donilon, a Democratic Party operative and lawyer who served as Gen. Jones’ deputy and who opposed more troops for Afghanistan, which puts him at odds with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

GEN Jones successor, Tom Donilon, has virtually no qualifications in the national security field other than being wrong as often as Joe Biden (hence his elevation in this administration). He’ll be at loggerheads with Gates. I won’t be a bit surprised when Gates elects to “spend more time with his family.” The next SecDef will probably be another clueless functionary.

Here’s the problem- the military is trying to  find a way to win this war. The Obama administration is trying to find a way to quit. But the administration is also leery of being accused of cutting and running. So they put on a show of a surge, set preconditions that effectively doom it (hello, July 2011!) and then will say the war is unwinnable. Well, here’s the thing. No war is unwinnable. But you can take a tough fight and work to lose it.

Let’s face it, in 2006, all the Democratic Party establishment, and a pretty fair portion of the GOP thought Iraq was hopeless. But Jack Keane, mentioned early in this article, managed to get President Bush’s ear, and convince him that there was indeed a path to victory. Keane was, more than Petraeus, the real architect of the surge in Iraq (he was the idea guy, Petraeus was the guy who had to make that idea work).

A similar operational concept is being employed in Afghanistan right now. It is NOT a carbon copy. The theaters are very different, and so are the players. The challenges of the terrain, and the fact of Pakistani duplicity are real problems. But as you can note from the article, there is real cause for optimism. Sadly, I’m not at all convinced the President will seize this initiative and continue a tough road. After all, he’s never done things the hard way before.


2 thoughts on “Hope in Afghanistan?”

  1. This is working out like Vietnam. We have the troops trying earnestly to win. The political hacks are doing everything they can to lose it.

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