...we are looking to end Terrorists hold on the population. If they can pull together and feel a sense of nation over a sense of faction/flavor of Islam they could really make a wonderful country for themselves.
It would be nice if we even appeared
to have a clue as to how to go about this, how to nudge it along.
I'm not criticizing our fighting forces — charged with an impossible mission they do the best they can with what they have to work with. But we've been at this now for over 15 years. We don't see any sign that the Afghans are turning away from Islamism. We don't see any drop in the number of terrorist attacks. We don't see a weakened Taliban.
It's the whole "nation building" problem. Looks great on paper. I think that in order for moderate forces to gain a permanent footing we would really need to commit to much higher troop and civilian contractor levels, gain military control over tribal areas of Pakistan and other 'stans where terrorists take haven, invest heavily in education, healthcare, good governance programs, a sustainable economy — for another generation or two. Everyone knows we're not going to do that. So what's the endgame?
How do we leave? One suggestion is that we don't get involved in these sorts of projects to begin with. Bush II declared war and that pretty much set everything in motion. To end a war you need victory or a treaty — kind of hard to do accomplish either of these when your enemies are stateless criminal terrorists inspired by what amounts to a religious death cult.
Not getting involved in these exploits is another thing that sounds easier than it is. Obama was committed to not intervening in Syria, if at all possible. He was criticized from the right and the left and our inaction allowed Russia to enter the war, insuring that the Assad regime would not be overthrown. Personally, I think he did the right thing — but it wasn't
a policy that made anyone swell with pride. It's a very unsatisfying option. So we sink into the quicksand of nation building? What are the options?