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News Link • Afghanistan

Afghanistan: The Only Good Strategy Is An Expiring One

•, Ivan Eland

In recent tense meeting, President Trump correctly told his generals that they were "losing" the war in Afghanistan, rejected their proposed strategy, and sent them back to the drawing board to create a new one. Like chronic alcoholism, compulsive American meddling in the affairs of other countries can only be recovered from by admitting the problem exists in the first place. President Trump has partially accomplished this first step by recognizing what has been obvious for years, but an even more enlightened conclusion would be that the war has been "lost" for quite some time now and the only solution is withdrawal U.S. forces as quickly as possible.

However, that is not the new strategy that the generals will likely come up with. Instead, as in Vietnam, they will continue to say — and probably even believe — that a turnaround is still possible. Of course, they have had 16 years to "win" the war, but have abjectly failed to do so. In any counterinsurgency war, if the insurgents are not losing, they are winning. Fighting guerrilla style means that insurgents use hit and run tactics against the weak points of a generally stronger enemy (usually government or foreign forces) and the then flee before the stronger side can catch them. Over time, the guerrillas are hoping to make the stronger party exhausted, and if it is a foreign occupier, make the war so costly in lives and money that that participant eventually goes back home.

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