Confusion in Afghanistan - Ehsan Ahrari, Khaleej Times opinion.
As President Barack H. Obama is edging toward making up his mind about accepting, partially accepting, or not accepting General Stanley McChrystal's advice to insert more troops in Afghanistan, I hear an abundance of metaphors flying. One metaphor used by Obama during the presidential campaign, when he described starting the war in Iraq to driving a bus into ditch. That metaphor is being reprinted (recently by the New York Times). Rory Stewart, a Professor at Harvard and an opponent of the option of increasing the troops is using the metaphor "driving off a cliff". Steven Biddle, a Fellow at CFR, calls it "a war that is worth waging, Ã¢â¬Â¨but only barely." John Nagle, who built his reputation by being one of General David Petraeus' assistants, and a person whose doctoral dissertation was on counter-insurgency (and a very good read), calls the war in Afghanistan "a better war."
The debate within the Principals Committee in the White House is reported to be waging along the lines of COIN or counter-terrorism. What is missing from all these metaphors and depictions is what should be our strategy Ã¢â¬Â¨in Afghanistan. If the United States is committed to remain in Afghanistan for the next 20 years, we need to add more troops. Even as we do that, our focus ought to be nation building, not in the sense of how this phrase is used among the US Special Forces. What I mean by nation building is a massive process of institution building for the purpose of establishing democracy in Afghanistan, along with a huge campaign against counter-drug operations, crop substitution, educational reforms, a colossal campaign of building civilian infrastructures, etc...
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