Blogs: The Skeptics

Washington Needs to Understand the Costs of Its Actions

America's Afghan Mission Is No Longer Serving Its Purpose

The Skeptics

Lastly, whatever aspiration Washington may seek, there is effectively no strategy governing the conduct of operations on the ground in Afghanistan. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released an assessment for members of Congress last week regarding the possibility that the administration will deploy several thousand more combat troops there. The CRS study found that currently “it is difficult to discern an overall, coherent strategy for Afghanistan.”

Given that the United States has pursued objectives that are not attainable, set goals that wouldn’t improve security even if they were accomplished and established no identifiable strategy, Trump must not deploy additional troops to Afghanistan. Instead, he should give serious consideration to a making a significant change of focus for the mission, and order the formation of a new strategy that has a chance to improve U.S. national security.

First, the president must acknowledge the bankruptcy of the never-valid idea that we can “fight them over there so we don’t fight them over here.” Sending thousands of American military personnel overseas has not made the nation safer. Second, the mission in Afghanistan must eventually end. The Afghan government must be given firm governing benchmarks, over a fixed period of time, that they must meet—or face the genuine prospect of the withdrawal of American military support. Diplomatically, the United States must conduct intensive give-and-take negotiations with Pakistan to cease support for the insurgency or face meaningful penalties.

Third, the most effective way to combat terrorism is to defend America’s borders by improving cooperation between the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security to keep potential terrorists out of the country. The administration must also design effective countermeasures to prevent current residents from becoming radicalized.

Keeping the nation secure is possibly the most sacred duty with which the president is charged. Many quarters of today’s world is filled with violent, radicalized men who seek to kill American citizens and attack U.S. interests. Keeping our citizens safe is a highly complex, incredibly difficult task, and there are no easy answers. What we must not do, however, is continue expending, into perpetuity, enormous resources in the pursuit of objectives that don’t improve U.S. national security.

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments.

Image: U.S. Marines in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Flickr/U.S. Marines

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America's Transatlantic Relationship Is Overrated

The Skeptics

Lastly, whatever aspiration Washington may seek, there is effectively no strategy governing the conduct of operations on the ground in Afghanistan. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released an assessment for members of Congress last week regarding the possibility that the administration will deploy several thousand more combat troops there. The CRS study found that currently “it is difficult to discern an overall, coherent strategy for Afghanistan.”

Given that the United States has pursued objectives that are not attainable, set goals that wouldn’t improve security even if they were accomplished and established no identifiable strategy, Trump must not deploy additional troops to Afghanistan. Instead, he should give serious consideration to a making a significant change of focus for the mission, and order the formation of a new strategy that has a chance to improve U.S. national security.

First, the president must acknowledge the bankruptcy of the never-valid idea that we can “fight them over there so we don’t fight them over here.” Sending thousands of American military personnel overseas has not made the nation safer. Second, the mission in Afghanistan must eventually end. The Afghan government must be given firm governing benchmarks, over a fixed period of time, that they must meet—or face the genuine prospect of the withdrawal of American military support. Diplomatically, the United States must conduct intensive give-and-take negotiations with Pakistan to cease support for the insurgency or face meaningful penalties.

Third, the most effective way to combat terrorism is to defend America’s borders by improving cooperation between the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security to keep potential terrorists out of the country. The administration must also design effective countermeasures to prevent current residents from becoming radicalized.

Keeping the nation secure is possibly the most sacred duty with which the president is charged. Many quarters of today’s world is filled with violent, radicalized men who seek to kill American citizens and attack U.S. interests. Keeping our citizens safe is a highly complex, incredibly difficult task, and there are no easy answers. What we must not do, however, is continue expending, into perpetuity, enormous resources in the pursuit of objectives that don’t improve U.S. national security.

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments.

Image: U.S. Marines in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Flickr/U.S. Marines

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The New Normal: Sending Troops to Afghanistan and Forgetting They Exist

The Skeptics

Lastly, whatever aspiration Washington may seek, there is effectively no strategy governing the conduct of operations on the ground in Afghanistan. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released an assessment for members of Congress last week regarding the possibility that the administration will deploy several thousand more combat troops there. The CRS study found that currently “it is difficult to discern an overall, coherent strategy for Afghanistan.”

Given that the United States has pursued objectives that are not attainable, set goals that wouldn’t improve security even if they were accomplished and established no identifiable strategy, Trump must not deploy additional troops to Afghanistan. Instead, he should give serious consideration to a making a significant change of focus for the mission, and order the formation of a new strategy that has a chance to improve U.S. national security.

First, the president must acknowledge the bankruptcy of the never-valid idea that we can “fight them over there so we don’t fight them over here.” Sending thousands of American military personnel overseas has not made the nation safer. Second, the mission in Afghanistan must eventually end. The Afghan government must be given firm governing benchmarks, over a fixed period of time, that they must meet—or face the genuine prospect of the withdrawal of American military support. Diplomatically, the United States must conduct intensive give-and-take negotiations with Pakistan to cease support for the insurgency or face meaningful penalties.

Third, the most effective way to combat terrorism is to defend America’s borders by improving cooperation between the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security to keep potential terrorists out of the country. The administration must also design effective countermeasures to prevent current residents from becoming radicalized.

Keeping the nation secure is possibly the most sacred duty with which the president is charged. Many quarters of today’s world is filled with violent, radicalized men who seek to kill American citizens and attack U.S. interests. Keeping our citizens safe is a highly complex, incredibly difficult task, and there are no easy answers. What we must not do, however, is continue expending, into perpetuity, enormous resources in the pursuit of objectives that don’t improve U.S. national security.

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments.

Image: U.S. Marines in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Flickr/U.S. Marines

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Stalingrad: The Bloodiest Battle of World War II (And Maybe of All Time?)

The Skeptics

Lastly, whatever aspiration Washington may seek, there is effectively no strategy governing the conduct of operations on the ground in Afghanistan. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released an assessment for members of Congress last week regarding the possibility that the administration will deploy several thousand more combat troops there. The CRS study found that currently “it is difficult to discern an overall, coherent strategy for Afghanistan.”

Given that the United States has pursued objectives that are not attainable, set goals that wouldn’t improve security even if they were accomplished and established no identifiable strategy, Trump must not deploy additional troops to Afghanistan. Instead, he should give serious consideration to a making a significant change of focus for the mission, and order the formation of a new strategy that has a chance to improve U.S. national security.

First, the president must acknowledge the bankruptcy of the never-valid idea that we can “fight them over there so we don’t fight them over here.” Sending thousands of American military personnel overseas has not made the nation safer. Second, the mission in Afghanistan must eventually end. The Afghan government must be given firm governing benchmarks, over a fixed period of time, that they must meet—or face the genuine prospect of the withdrawal of American military support. Diplomatically, the United States must conduct intensive give-and-take negotiations with Pakistan to cease support for the insurgency or face meaningful penalties.

Third, the most effective way to combat terrorism is to defend America’s borders by improving cooperation between the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security to keep potential terrorists out of the country. The administration must also design effective countermeasures to prevent current residents from becoming radicalized.

Keeping the nation secure is possibly the most sacred duty with which the president is charged. Many quarters of today’s world is filled with violent, radicalized men who seek to kill American citizens and attack U.S. interests. Keeping our citizens safe is a highly complex, incredibly difficult task, and there are no easy answers. What we must not do, however, is continue expending, into perpetuity, enormous resources in the pursuit of objectives that don’t improve U.S. national security.

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments.

Image: U.S. Marines in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Flickr/U.S. Marines

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