Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why We Won in Iraq; How to Win in Afghanistan

Victor Davis Hanson:
"NS: Given the current situation in Afghanistan would you be willing to offer an opinion on the merit of ramping up the battle by the current administration?

"Dr. Hanson: I don't think surging or not is the question. In Iraq, the key was not just the 30,000 extra troops of the 2007 surge, but the message that Bush was escalating and staying rather than leaving, as well as changing tactics, enlisting the help of the sons of Iraq, and the sheer cumulative toll of years of eliminating jihadists that finally reached a tipping point.

"So the key is whether Obama will back off from his set in concrete withdrawal dates, whether he talks daily to his generals on the ground, whether the war is number one on the daily presidential agenda, whether he uses the word 'victory' rather than pontificates that there is no such concept in postmodern warfare. Afghanistan can be stabilized in the manner of a Iraq, but it requires an executive commitment that we have not seen since 2009 — no doubt because the 2007-8 Obama campaign binary of 'let me at' the supposedly necessary, winnable and good UN/NATO sanctioned Afghan war versus 'I will end' the supposedly gratuitous, lost and bad unilateral war in Iraq was fossilized and out of date by his inauguration day in 2009.

"The result was a sort of confused catch-up as Iraq was suddenly redefined as the administration's 'greatest achievement', while tribunals, renditions, Predators, and Guantanamo became OK — even as the once necessary EU-approved multilateral effort in Afghanistan was proving a mess."

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