Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How Many Troops in Afghanistan?

President Obama and his advisers have been struggling of late over how many troops the U.S. should commit to Afghanistan.

My view is that we have only two real options: zero, or "many."

The in-between path we have chosen so far appears to have no chance of producing any kind of lasting peace, conquest of territory, or installation of true democracy or capitalism. It is hard to see how it can ever make real progress along any relevant dimension.

The approach of sending zillions of troops might have some chance of suppressing the Taliban, just as Saddam Hussein's highly militarized, repressive regime was more or less successful in supressing the Shiites. This approach is enormously costly, however, not just because it involves huge commitments of resources but becuase it means we are, in effect, acting as a totalitarian government in a foreign country.

So, I vote for option #1: bring all the troops home now.

16 comments:

LeVoisin said...

I agree with you about our two choices. I am not sure that I agree with your choice (though I am not sure that I don't). Can we once again drop the Afghanis? How will our doing so impact Pakistan, a country that I truly believe we cannot allow to collapse? I we had stuck to our commitments under Bush 1, would we even be in Afghanistan (or Iraq) today?

Fady said...

The middle ground is not an option, though I fear will be the option coming from Obama. I hate to say it but Bush had it Afghanistan right: smaller footprint, less direct involvment. Now that we stirred the hornet's nest we must either escalate or leave. I'm torn, but I vote for leaving.

Bogdan said...

Excellent. Leave, and hand over to Osama Bin Laden a great victory over the Great Satan, and make Afganistan once more base for planning future attacks, and for organizing training camps and infrastructure. Two months after American withdrawal Taliban will reseize the power and reinvite their old guests, Al Quaeda.

Apart from that, Bin Laden's defeating Great Satan in Afghanistan will be most precious recruiting tool for islamists. They can thrive as ideology only so far as they can deliver on promise to succeed in fight against USA. The best way to eliminate or dramaticall decrease danger from islamist terrorist is to defeat them. As 7 years of experience under Bush have convincingly demonstrated. Do you really think that America would be safer with Afghanistan once again turned Taliban state with Al Quaeda organizing training camps and using all resource of the state? What's gonna happen with Pakistan then and their nuclear weapons? It is much easier to parade with sexy libertarian pacifism, New England brand, than to advise responsible decisions about death and life of the millions of people.

Anonymous said...

The amount of lives lost fighting a war will be much greater than the amount of lives lost from any future Al Quaeda attacks. Even if we leave Afghanistan and get attcked again, it doesn't mean it would have been the right move to stay there.

SPK145 said...

You're right about the options. War is disgusting, war is hell. If you're going to be involved in a war, be in it to win it. Scorch Earth.

Having said that, we need to decide what our strategy is. Coming home is a viable choice but does Pakistan fall then to the Taliban, etc.

If we are NOT going to go with balls to the wall, then come home.

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