More exit, less strategy -

More exit, less strategy

A plea for fleeing Afghanistan


Senator Colin Kenny, former longtime chairman of the Senate committee on national security and defence, has a reputation for taking security matters seriously. So when he wades in this morning with an op-ed piece headlined “Yes, let’s ‘cut and run,’ ” many in Ottawa will take notice. Kenny bluntly calls the military mission in Kandahar a failure and urges, “We should get out of Afghanistan at the earliest opportunity…” He judges the Taliban far more potent than it was a couple of years ago. He assesses the new U.S. counter-insurgency strategy doomed, since it would “require many times the number of foreign and Afghan troops than anyone could hope to muster, and much more time than NATO countries are willing to devote to Afghanistan.” Even with more troops, counter-insurgency missions rely on “competent and committed local government”—an asset you won’t find in Kabul. It’s time, says the senator, to cut our losses.

Ottawa Citizen

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More exit, less strategy

  1. Link would not work for me. It is here

    This was not my opinion on Afghanistan but Kenny is someone to be taken seriously. (For an unelected, do nothing senator that is.)

  2. Colin Kenny makes a persuasive case for getting out ASAP.

    Perhaps conditions in Afghanistan will be more conducive in a few decades…

  3. This is the second Need to Know lnk that didn't work for me. And, uh, thanks Stewart, but you linked to the Need to Know, LOL.

    Try this one:

    Okay, now that I've read it, I'd like to suggest we gather up the women and girls–the ones sending their children, or going to the schools–and get them the hell out of there, then abandon the rest of the Afghanis to their fate. It can't be much worse without us than it already is, and it may actually improve (faint hope, but still).

    But the women who spoke out, the girls attempting to be educated, they will be killed or worse. I don't know how many people we're talking about, but I"d like to see if something can be done.

    • thanks… next time coffee first, try to help others second.

    • No concern for the husbands and fathers then, especially the ones who've been helping us and will be executed by the returning Taliban?

      • No, because the letter I've seen from the Taliban didn't mention them. It did make very, very clear that the woman who allowed her daughter to go to school would pay with her life–and her daughter's life.

        If I had the faintest idea where I saw that letter, I'd link to it.

        EDIT: Okay, now that I've read what you actually wrote, do you mean like the interpreter's and such? Because I thought we'd already taken care of them–or have arrangements in place to do so when the times comes. If not, then yes, of course we need to look after them as well.

  4. When will we learn that George W. Bush was right… that is the George W. Bush of 2000 who ran against nation-building. Afghanistan is ethnically and politically divided, and has no history of national unity – much less the kind of civil society that can become a democracy. The historical lesson is that Afghanistan is where empires end – the British, the Soviets and now the Americans. The idea that the west must intervene in every failed state to stop terrorism is tantamount to playing whack-a-mole. We'll never get them all. The best way to combat terrorism is to limit our exposure to prospective enemies. And direct intervention may not be the best way to prevent the creation of terrorist havens anyway. We can help keep the Karzai regime alive with aid and arms.

    It is also clear that the era of optional wars is over. China is emerging as a peer competitor to the United States of America. India too approaches great power status, and has a history of conflict and rivalry with China. Likewise Japan, one of the world's largest economies, can only hamstring its military capabilities for so long. Asia increasingly resembles the same volatile Europe that was embroiled in constant fighting from the 16th century till the Second World War. With new strategic challenges on the horizon, we have to stop fighting the Boer war, and start digging trenches.

    • I don't think the original intent in Afghanistan was nation-building – that was an afterthought. The original intent was to get Bin Laden; had the Taliban handed him over or at least cooperated with US Special Forces I don't think there would have been an invasion.

      But your overall point stands: Afghanistan is a really bad place to fight insurgents due to its geography, tribalism, and lack of an educated populace. Which is one reason why the Bush Admin opted to draw the insurgents to Iraq instead. It was a good move strategically, if questionable ethically.

      The problem is that the Iraq war is winding down because (a) it's been won, in terms of the Iraqis themselves, and (b) it's unpopular. Al Qaeda types therefore aren't going to head there to fight Americans as they did back in 2005. They can hit Americans more easily in Afghanistan now. This is good for Iraq, but bad for the US since the battleground in Afghanistan is so much less favourable.

      I'm not sure he had a viable alternative owing to the condemnatory campaign he ran, but Obama put the US at a serious disadvantage when he opted to deemphasize Iraq in favour of Afghanistan. Their grasp of the ethics was dubious, but the Bush Administration's grasp of the tactical situation was excellent. I think the Obama Administration has zero grasp of the tactical situation (and I suspect they couldn't care less about the ethics either, but I could be wrong).

      • are you out of your mind? bush is the sole reason that we are in this mess. as for the waqr in iraq being over
        give your head a shake.The war will be over when the army leaves but then we;
        , will see a civil war and begger mess. Of course you being consvative wont be able to see this.

  5. The distinguished former Chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence is correct. The only reserve I can make on his today's full page article is that symptoms of the war loss are far from new. They persisted since a few years while he was in power, thus would have then had more clout in being heard. I did warn the relevant authorities since 2008. [ To follow]

  6. Part IIToday, we are devastated by the brutal news of beheading 6 Afghani security guards, the ultimate escalation by Taliban. It recalls another similar tribal conflict: the Yemen war of the 1960s between the Royalists of Saudi Arabia backed by the UK and the Republicans of Egypt supported by the USSR on Yemeni soil. Topography of the Yemen and that of Afghanistan resemble each other, hence, it was rapidly clear to the two Arab antagonists and their non-regional proponents that a traditional war using classical military equipment such as air fighters, tanks.. was inadequate. Consequently, they shifted into a war by proxy, buying rival tribes to make war on their behalf. Since two and a half years, roughly the date of the John Manley Commission report, be it publicly or privately, I advocated that a Yemen-based model could be successfully replicated by NATO forces in Afghanistan. This would have allowed savings in the $ billions by keeping only a skeleton troop on the ground, training and supervising the tribes' operations,however, a serious threat to President Hamid Karzai's fake rule. Count the lives we have lost since..

  7. This is the first sensible statement from a politician. All military leadership is wanting war and killings. That is there bread and butter. The reality is, defeat is the inevitability in Afghanistan. Another issue is, when Nato has failed totally, they want Pakistan to be the escape goat, a country that has sacrificed more due to this senseless war then the whole world put together. Now they are playing with Pakistan, rather than showing seriousness in a purpose and allowing india to play their dirty game in Afghanistan against Pakistan. This will only hasten their defeat!!! Get out and now!!! This is the message on the walls!