With the administration unable yet to point to much tangible evidence of progress, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who assumed command in Afghanistan last month from Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, is taking several steps to emphasize hopeful signs on the ground that, he will argue, would make a rapid withdrawal unwise. Meanwhile, a rising generation of young officers, who have become experts over the past nine years in the art of counterinsurgency, have begun quietly telling administration officials that they need time to get their work done.
“Their argument,” said one senior administration official, who would not speak for attribution about the internal policy discussions, “is that while we’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years, only in the past 12 months or so have we started doing this right, and we need to give it some time and think about what our long-term presence in Afghanistan should look like.”
As all this is going on, the White House claims they will stick to starting the withdrawal in July 2011, but consider that Barack Obama vowed Guantanamo Bay would be closed before the end of 2009 before admitting this year that it won’t even be closed by the end of his first term in 2013. Even the supposed end to combat operations in Iraq is a sham, hidden behind a simple manipulation of language and the presence of more than 80,000 military contractors in Iraq.
I find it hard to believe they can even say we’re “doing it right” now. The idea that the surge worked in Iraq is rapidly unraveling. The offensive in Marja appears to have been a tremendous failure, which has led to the indefinite postponement of the Kandahar offensive. Meanwhile, the mayor of Kabul dope baron president our teenaged soldiers are dying and accidentally killing and maiming Afghan civilians for is seething over the simplest notions of transparency and anti-corruption policies being applied to his government. Clearly we will be able to win hearts and minds with a government more interested in sending money out to Dubai than providing social services competing against the hard-line anti-corruption Taliban.
Most importantly, notice that unnamed source talks about “what our long-term presence in Afghanistan should look like.” How about that for a subtle bit of subliminal messaging? Even an official in a supposedly pro-end-the-war White House is telling us that we have already long since made up our minds to be in Afghanistan for the long-term. I hate the arrogance of these “serious” people in Washington–“End the war? My, you must have just fallen off the turnip truck! Even in the best of circumstances, we’ll positively have to maintain a garrison in Afghanistan to protect the women and keep our embassy safe!”
We aren’t dumb for wanting the war to end and our troops brought home. We aren’t simpletons. We don’t want any more blood on our hands and we don’t want permanent American garrisons established in farflung lands like the six-decade engagement we still maintain in Korea. The government needs to stop treating us like children, start being transparent and stop the endless “humanitarian” imperialist wars in our name.