The End of the Rainbow in 2014?

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When Mr. Obama came into power, he seemed determined to make Afghanistan ‘his war’ – even though we’d been there for a long time already. Now, he’s not so sure that he wants to link his presidency to the Afghan War. And I don’t blame him. As with so many other similar conflicts throughout history, you first have to ask yourself where the end of the counterinsurgency rainbow is. And while you’re searching, consider why we went there in the first place and why we remain.
When the British left Asia and the Middle East, the US took their place and the power vacuum was temporary and rather small.  If the US suddenly decided to abandon the Middle East and Asia it would create a problem for the world and I am not suggesting that we take that Libertarian course of action. When we left Viet Nam, we didn’t leave Asia.
A 10 year land war in Asia for the sake of fighting Muslim extremists can turn into a 20 year war or a 30 year war if we plan to turn Afghans into Americans. (The Afghans have a stubborn historical precedent for remaining Afghans no matter who occupies their country) Political Islam failed to deliver on its promise of a just government. It failed to provide a prosperous society. And it has failed to foster a flourishing culture. Islam, the faith doesn’t translate into good government. Brutal Sharia Law doesn’t lead to a blossoming society full of new science and ‘the good life’. And the Afghans have their own brand of Sharia based on the jirgha (literally ‘circle’) of elders who decide what the tribe will do. It has been and will be the basis of Afghan society and law no matter how much we try to change it.
Our broad strategic objectives for Afghanistan are part of the problem. Keeping America safe can remain  a goal for keeping troops in Afghanistan at some sustainable level. However, when you look at the map (above), you need to ask yourself if Six Corps (a lot of people) will make the social change we seek by 2014. Is that the end of the counterinsurgency rainbow?

11 thoughts on “The End of the Rainbow in 2014?

  1. I think the world knowing we will retaliate is enough to ward off most attacks. Does the world fear this President's actions?

  2. Odie – I think that the world knows that America will do what America has to do. Obama diluted it to some degree, but ObamaNation or not, America is still populated by "Americans" (thank God)!

  3. My answer- No way in hell… might as well leave now and just let the place revert to tribal warfare…

  4. THANK YOU for posting this! I'm very glad I found your blog!!

    Common Cents

  5. I'm with Old NFO. Afghanistan is un-winnable, if only because the only thing its various ethnicities hate more than each other is outsiders. As Einstein posited, insanity is doing the same thing over and over, always expecting a different result.

  6. I think it is winnable, the question is: Is is worth winning?

    Would leaving now be a lose? I don't remember going in there with the goal to turn it into a developed country. We killed Bin Laden, and ended it being a safe haven for Al-Qaeda. It's up to them if they want to fail or succeed after we leave.

  7. Even Obama had to admit that Petraeus understood COIN strategy enough to create a sustainable pro-Western ideology in Afghanistan. The question remains, will Obama continue on that path, or flip flop again according to political expediency.

    I think Obama, ever the politician, will opt for the latter.

  8. Euripides – I don't think that inside every Afghan, there is an American trying to get out. We tried it with the Shah in Iran — and it didn't work there.

    LA – I agree 100%

    Trestin – We went in to root out terrorist training camps. If we occupy the entire undeveloped world with troops, we would still be unable to rid the planet of terrorists.

  9. LL: I agree with your view of Afghanis. I wasn't saying that the strategy of COIN was to create a little America. I was saying the strategy of COIN is to produce an enclave of Afghanis who are willing to work with the West.

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