Small Wars Journal

Tom Barnett on Dave Kilcullen

Be Realistic on Iraq and Afghanistan - Tom Barnett on Dave Kilcullen's SWJ piece Crunch Time in Afghanistan-Pakistan.

Good, intelligent piece by Kilcullen. I think he is right on the Option A timeline. To be honest, this is why I make the argument in Great Powers that going to Iraq was right. There we've dealt with a state located in the center of al Qaeda's strategic ambitions. In Afghanistan, to do it right (meaning, to include Pakistan's FATA), it will stretch across presidencies. We will expend lotsa blood and treasure and--at the end of any day we choose to leave--it's likely to return right back to what it's always been. Al Qaeda's ambition is not Afghanistan or even Pakistan (the latter being unallowable by India and the US--at least--and probably more). The longer it's trapped there, the more it will lose its strategic ambitions and thus the more we'll spend significant blood and treasure on something that--in the grand scheme of things--will not matter much at all...

More at Tom's place and related issues in Dave's new book The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One as well as Tom's latest - Great Powers: America and the World after Bush.