In Lockstep, Media Goes Out for Afghanistan Surge

Haven’t we learned our lesson?


On the front page of Monday’s New York Times appears this article on Afghanistan. Michael R. Gordon leads off with this falsehood in the 2nd paragraph:

Military experts agree that more troops are required to carry out an effective counterinsurgency campaign, but they also caution that the reinforcements are unlikely to lead to the sort of rapid turnaround that the so-called troop surge in Iraq produced after its start in 2007.

Military experts agree? They do? Who are these “military experts?” Because I can find a few who most certainly do not agree.

Rory Stewart, who’s award winning book on Afghanistan was a New York Times bestseller, said this a few weeks ago on the Times’ editoral page:

A sudden surge of foreign troops and cash will be unhelpful and unsustainable. It would take 20 successful years to match Pakistan’s economy, educational levels, government or judiciary — and Pakistan is still not stable. Nor, for that matter, are northeastern or northwestern India, despite that nation’s great economic and political successes.

We will not be able to eliminate the Taliban from the rural areas of Afghanistan’s south, so we will have to work with Afghans to contain the insurgency instead. All this is unpleasant for Western politicians who dream of solving the fundamental problems and getting out. They will soon be tempted to give up.

It is in our interests for Afghanistan to be more stable in part because it contributes to the stability of the region, and in particular Pakistan. Well-focused, long-term assistance in which we appear a genuine partner, not a frustrated colonial master, could help Afghans achieve this goal. We will be able to create, afford and sustain such a relationship only if we put it in a broader strategic context and limit its scope.

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