NATO leaders lower Afghanistan expectations
After 6 years, it's time to face reality in Afghanistan (click to inflate)
From the Toronto Star:
A weak, wobbly country where things still blow up regularly. But one with its own small army which, though also weak and wobbly, will be just strong enough to hold Afghanistan together. A police force still riddled with corruption, but not so corrupt as to be unable to bend the will of the people toward it, rather than the Taliban. An Afghanistan still awash in drugs, where women's place in society would make the average Westerner recoil and the prisons remain the stuff of nightmares. And finally an Afghanistan that our soldiers might be able to get the hell out of in a few years, at least as a hard-fighting force in the dangerous south.So after six years of fighting, the war in Afghanistan can only be won by changing the definition of "victory". Keep in mind that this is the country in which our primary foes really are a bunch of extremist theocrats who aid and protect al Qaeda, and who could take over the country if we don't figure out a way to stop them. This was the important fight, not Iraq. And now it looks like the best we can hope for is a country that sends us heroin instead of hijackers.
Drill down through all the rhetoric dished out at NATO Bucharest summit last week – including the salute-inducing 1,320-word Strategic Vision statement signed by the 40 world leaders trapped in the Afghan vise – and the grim reality begins to emerge. Reading between the lines leaves little doubt that the bedraggled mission in Afghanistan is coming to the conclusion that lowering its lofty goalposts is the only way out.
I have to wonder if we could have done better, had we not committed most of our resources to the war in Iraq.
(cross posted at Liberal Avenger) (via appletree)