Our engagement in Afghanistan is beginning to look more and more like the mess we got ourselves into in Vietnam.Â The question now is not whether we can disengage, but how soon we can do so in good order.
I have previously summarized the faltering elements — too many killings and a corrupt government which is antagonizing the Afghans and for which we are being held responsible.Â August saw more American soldiers killed there than in any previous month.Â Al Qaeda simply weaves and dodges and can in no way be trapped by our military.Â The brutal ones there are not loved by their own people who must learn how to hold them in check — we cannot do so.
There seem to be several viable options for us.Â We can move our military off shore from where we can launch attacks on our true enemies.Â We can try to win support by substituting funding for rebuilding rather than random killing, here, there, and everywhere.
There are some reasonable and honest Afghans — certainly not the probable winner of the current corrupt election who looks to be garnering as much wealth as he can from our contributions before taking off for points elsewhere.
Bush blew our opportunities there.Â Obama must not allow us to be sucked into the failed Bush strategies — ‘shoot first and ask questions later’.
What do you think?
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed KentÂ 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]