With all due respect to the President, I’ve got a question to ask:
When has this worked?
I admit I have a degree of ambivalence – I do think Colin Powell’s “Pottery Barn Rule” applies (ie: “You break it, you bought it”)(somehow incidentally I doubt they have that rule). We put our foot in it both in Afghanistan and Iraq and to some extent we’re responsible for putting the pieces back together.
On the other hand, again, “When has this worked?” What historical example can be given where a long term and unpopular occupier has “won” against entrenched insurgents? Let’s look at the historical examples:
- Korea (US)? Nope.
- Indochina (French)? Nope.
- Vietnam (US)? Nope.
- Algeria (French)? Nope.
- Afghanistan (Soviets)? Nope.
- Iraq (US)? Nope.
So, what “miracle” is going to make this little gem of a war different? Particularly when we have a large part of the Muslim world working against us and funneling in arms and aggressors (hmmm, sounds a lot like a certain previous Afghanistan engagement alluded to above).
There are only two ways in reality to “win” this, one of which is already too late:
- Get in, kick out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, rebuild the country winning hearts and minds in the process, and get the hell out.
- Be absolutely ruthless.
Option 1 has long since passed. GW blew that chance big time.
Option 2 we don’t have the stomach for, which since it’s immoral, I am happy about. Honestly the only way to win this at this point would be to just kill, destroy, and demoralize with impunity. We’d have to be everything we claim not to be. Frankly we’d have to be like Saddam Hussein – again absolutely ruthless.
However our current tack isn’t much better. Sure, it isn’t ruthless, but it slowly and more silently does much the same thing. Thousands of innocents still die, and god knows what’s happening under the covers. In the end it’s the worst of both worlds – the death and destruction still happens but with none of the winning to go along with it. It’s just a lot more palatable for the majority of Americans who believe the patriotic schlock of moral superiority they feed us.
So what is the definition of insanity? Thinking you can win a type of war that has never been won, over, and over, and over, and over again.