Iraq A Success; Afghanistan Not So Much Posted by: MichaelW
on Monday, July 14, 2008
Michael Yon, the first person to declare that there was a civil war going in Iraq, thinks that the war is finally over:
The war continues to abate in Iraq. Violence is still present, but, of course, Iraq was a relatively violent place long before Coalition forces moved in. I would go so far as to say that barring any major and unexpected developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow), a fair-minded person could say with reasonable certainty that the war has ended. A new and better nation is growing legs. What's left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet, the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it's time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won.
I sure hope he's right. Maliki and his cabinet seem to agree with Yon's assessment (although, not to the degree being pushed by Obama and other historical revisionists). I fear that the "peace" won at this point is still very fragile and could easily be disrupted. But there's simply no doubt that current trends are encouraging.
Unfortunately, Afghanistan is not in anywhere near the same position:
I wish I could say the same for Afghanistan. But that war we clearly are losing: I am preparing to go there and see the situation for myself. My friends and contacts who have a good understanding of Afghanistan are, to a man, pessimistic about the current situation. Interestingly, however, every one of them believes that Afghanistan can be turned into a success. They all say we need to change our approach, but in the long-term Afghanistan can stand on its own.
As it turns out, my good friend (and ASHC co-blogger) Joshua Foust is also planning to trek to Afghanistan and do some citizen reporting (you can support his efforts here if you're so inclined). He's of much the same mind as Yon's sources regarding the current state of the nation's stability, and although he thinks it can be turned around he's not so sure that the right steps will be taken:
Given the growing reach of FATA-affiliated militants, it is becoming clear that developments in the tribal areas are central to NATO’s success in Afghanistan, as well as an important factor in the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan and the security of both Europe and the United States. Yet many Western policymakers and pundits misread current events, espousing views and prescribing policies that are based more on stereotypes than on a solid grasp of the region’s history and culture.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the Pakistani Taliban pose a unique and insurmountable threat, that the Pashtuns are the problem, that the tribal areas are lawless and chaotic, and that the targeted assassinations are an effective deterrent against Islamic militancy. But none of these assertions are accurate.
Although the conventional thinking holds that the Pakistani Taliban and their leader Baitullah Mehsud are a formidable and unprecedented threat to the region, the movement is neither historically unique nor overwhelmingly powerful.
The bottom line, regardless of exactly how pessimistic we should or shouldn't be, is that as our presence in Iraq comes to a close, and we (hopefully) leave a stable democratic country behind, we can't forget about our commitment to Afghanistan.
Well, I’m just happy you dense righties and your biased reporters like Yon are finally seeing the truth about the situation in Afghanistan. I’ve been telling you how bad it is for a long time. But would you listen to me and my godlike powers of poltical science? No!
Of course, earlier I was talking about how we needed to completely abandon Iraq so we could focus on Afghanistan, and Yon is saying we are about finished in Iraq so we can focus on Afghanistan. But I’m confident that once Obama finally settles down to one position on Iraq, which I estimate will be sometime around November 8, then we’ll be back to the abandon strategy there. Don’t forget that I’ve maintained all along that no possible good could come out of Iraq, and Obama sees that, although he has to moderate his language to confuse enough voters to get elected. But that’s just good post-modernist rhetoric - we on the left all know that he really means he’s going to abandon Iraq in the way most likely to lead to chaos, so our experiment in social engineering can be over and those brown noble savages can get back to choosing a strongman to run their society.
Any other outcome would be imperialist. Not to mention the fact that our actions in Iraq were aggression just like the Nazis and the Japanese in WWII. So we deserve to be humbled there, so that we will put wise leftists in control who will never ever exert military power again.
And, as I’ve told you so many times I’ve lost count, those wogs are simply not up to a modern open society. Their religion compels them to submit to their co-religionists in Iran, so Iran will eventually come out of this as a regional superpower, and we’ll be humbled. You’ll see. I can’t wait. Though I did have to freeze the brie I was planning to use in celebration. Don’t worry, it will stay fresh enough to last until things fall apart.
So let’s hurry up and abandon Iraq, so that we can focus on Afghanistan. And what that really means is for us to find some way to screw things up there too, uh, sorry, I meant to get those noble savages in Afghanistan back on some track to their own fundamentalist cultural destiny as soon as possible. Because that stuff about creating a stable government is just as silly for the wogs in Afghanistan as it is for the wogs in Iraq.
The UK site "Defence of the Realm" has recently completed a pretty comprehensive examination of Afghanistan. It covers most of the bases very well - military, economy, opium, Pakistan. Thoroughly recommend.