Afghan Awakening

Can Kabul be saved? More troops are on the way, but a one-size-fits-all surge is not enough. We also need to change our tactics.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2008

IN SEPTEMBER of 2008, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a remarkable statement. He said, "I'm not convinced we're winning in Afghanistan. I am convinced we can. That is why I intend to commission and . . . am looking at a new, more comprehensive strategy for the region." Considering that the United States has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years now, clearly whatever our strategy is, it has not worked.

There has developed an unquestioning consensus that we need to do more. The Democratic Party, united in demanding a swift withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, supports expanding the war in Afghanistan. The same is true of the Republican Party and the Pentagon. The mainstream press, while savaging the White House for lacking a sensible plan and sufficient troops in Iraq, accepted without question sending more troops to Afghanistan. And now that the surge in Iraq is winding down, a surge for Afghanistan is in the cards.

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