We Don’t Have An Edge

May 5, 2009 at 7:03 am | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

This article in the New York Times is instructive. It is based on six months of interviewing someone close to the leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan. Along with many other articles recently on the troubles Pakistan is facing from Taliban guerrillas, this one tells a lot. America is in a stopped position. The Taliban are making the moves right now. Because we just simply do not have enough troops in Afghanistan (same situation as Iraq), we cannot make the moves required. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is highly porous because there is no one on the Afghan side to seal it up. It doesn’t matter whether the Pakistani soldiers seal up their side. It’s not their problem to deal with. If we, the Americans, don’t want Taliban fighters moving through the border, we would do all in our power to close the border on the Afghan side!

The current American military continues to think that spending gazillions of dollars on high tech weaponry will somehow compensate for boots on the ground. The drones we use in Pakistan may be effective at hitting their targets, but they fail to convince the people on the ground to reject the Taliban. Note that this particular informant says that Taliban fighters go into Afghan villages for months on end in hiding. Surely they do this because they can trust those Afghani villagers not to turn him over to the Americans. That’s probably because those Afghan villages don’t have an American presence in them.

We have too few troops in Afghanistan. We have too many troops in Iraq. Shift the troops out of Iraq back to Afghanistan and we can solve Afghanistan. Either that, or get the hell out. This half hearted crap just doesn’t work. We don’t have an edge in Afghanistan. We never had one in Iraq.


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