Thursday, August 27, 2009
# Posted 11:53 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
MR. GREGORY: We're rebuilding this nation?Those last couple sentences are actually pretty coherent, although less than eloquent. If we don't want the Taliban and Al Qaeda to have safe havens in Afghanistan, then our strategy has to extend to political and economic development as well as military action. But clearly, Adm. Mullen knows that he isn't supposed to call that nation-building.
The President pays constant lip service to how difficult the road ahead will be in Afghanistan. He insists "The road ahead will be long. There will be difficult days."
Am I for nation-building? Yes, but. Securing the people is the number one objective of counterinsurgency. Politics is integral to counterinsurgency operations and economics are important as well, although our economic objectives have more to do with restoring normalcy than fighting poverty.
'Nation-building' is an unfair terms since its connotations are so ambitious. Almost by definition, nation-building is the unrealistic pursuit of Jeffersonian democracy and 21st century capitalism in the backwaters of the developing world. Yet at the same time, he refuses to level about the costs of the war by saying that our purpose is no broader than "to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan."
Public support for the war is evaporating, mainly on Obama's side of the aisle. The chances of rebuilding it are low if there's no straight talk coming from the White House.
Cross-posted at Conventional Folly (1) opinions -- Add your opinion
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