Now that Gates agrees: 100,000+ troups to Afghanistan; a repeat of earlier post!

3 May

Now that Secretary gates agrees, it is timely to repeat the following that was published originally by:

Short of deploying an overwhelming force in Afghanistan, McCain’s “100 years troops overseas is OK campaign rule;” may well become a prophecy in Afghanistan.

Before starting the George W. Bush Iraq war, General Shineki, then the Army Chief of Staff, told Congress that an overwhelming force of about 500,000 would require to do the job right. Shineski was summarily fired by Donald Rumsfeld, who with Paul Wolfovitz wanted do do the job with a minimal force. It is obvious who was right; not Rumsfeld and Wolfovitz! One can say that the Afghanistan situation could turn to be: De-ja vu all over again!

Afghanistan is a challenging country situated on a uniquely difficult terrain. The difficulties start with archaic religion and culture. The Islamic democracy that Afghanistan is, has its laws based on, and subservient to, the Shariah (Islamic law.)  The total Afghanistan legal, social and religious structure is based on outdated laws from the Koran, comprising of many rules that are not compatible with the modern world of the Twenty-first Century..

In addition to the intangible issues, Afghanistan’s terrain is so difficult to manage. It is a haven for renegades, terrorists, and/or any outlaw trying to elude the authorities. The landscape is not only hard to manage, the weather combines to make the land in many spots essentially uninhabitable. The fact that Afghanistan shares some of its rough terrain with Pakistan would force the United States and its allies to include in their efforts in Afghanistan, means to deal with Pakistan with its very complex politics, and nuclear capabilities. 

The religious backbone of Afghanistan is much more prominent and less yielding than the one in Iraq, anyone trying to compare the two countries is likely to be very disappointed. Communication with the people of Afghanistan will prove a much more difficult task than is the task dealing with the people of Iraq. President Obama desire to use diplomacy in Afghanistan has minimal chance of succeeding, while his commitment to add troops, even before leaving Iraq, is an early sign of what may be actually the beginning of a very long journey, a venture with no end in sight.

President Obama before getting truly initiated into the office of President, committed 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan. It is known that at least 30,000 more troops are also slated for Afghanistan before the Iraqi withdrawal is complete. These known deployments will leave over 100,000 US and NATO troops in Afghanistan; how many more will be added in the future, is too early to say.

Consistent with President Obama’s projection that Afghanistan will need to have some 400,000 military and police personnel before it can take care of its security needs, for the US to clean-up the tougher parts of Afghanistan (including an area across the border in Pakistan,) in preparation for Afghanistan to take over the security responsibility, will require an overwhelming force, likely MORE troops than were committed to Iraq at the peak of that campaign.

With a lesser force, which may be dictated to President Obama by the American public, the Afghanistan/Pakistan mission is likely be protracted, well into the tenure of President Obama’s successor; the McCain 100 year in the region may well proved to be a prophecy, not just a campaign mis-statement.


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