Boot, Kagan, and Kagan - the neocon dogs of war attempt to justify more troops and more war in Afghanistan
why in god's name are these discredited, blood-thirsty hacks still getting prime op-ed space in the new york times...?
In addition to sending more soldiers, we must also increase our efforts to expand the Afghan security forces. It may be impossible to speed up the pace of building the Afghan National Army, but the current proposed end-strength of 134,000 troops is far too low. We should immediately commit to a goal of 250,000 troops for the army, and a substantial increase in the national police as well. Afghan troops also need lots of better equipment — everything from armored vehicles to night-vision goggles.
The key question for those who advocate pulling back is this: Where will we get the intelligence to direct the raids? If we have few troops on the ground, we will have to rely on intercepted communications. But seven years into the fight, the terrorists have learned a thing or two about keeping their communications secret. The only way to get the intelligence we need is from the residents, and they won’t provide it unless our troops stay in their villages to provide protection from Taliban retribution.
This struggle is not just about Afghanistan. It is also about tracking and effecting what is going on in Pakistan’s tribal areas. That is where the global Qaeda leadership is. It is the nexus of terrorist groups including the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is implicated in the Mumbai, India, attacks last November; the Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi, which now has control of the Swat region in Pakistan; and Baitullah Mehsud’s Pakistani Taliban, which are said to have plotted the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister.
From their positions across the border in Afghanistan, American forces can literally see these areas. They can also gather invaluable intelligence from, and spread our influence to, the tribes that straddle the frontier. But we get that vantage point only as long as we have something to offer the Afghans — security, improved quality of life, hope for a better government. If we abandon them, we will become blind to one of the most dangerous threats to our security, and also hand our most determined enemies an enormous propaganda victory — their biggest since 9/11.
Make no mistake: there is hard, costly fighting ahead in Afghanistan. But the fight is worth pursuing, and the odds of success are much better than they were in Iraq when we launched the forlorn hope known as the surge.
Max Boot is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Frederick Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Kimberly Kagan is the president of the Institute for the Study of War.
good lord, please spare me... (special note to the nyt: please keep this crew the hell away from the op-ed page...) Submit To Propeller