Two Winnable Wars
By Anthony H. Cordesman
Sunday, February 24, 2008; Page B07
No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won.
They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States.
... The military situations in Iraq and Afghanistan are very different. The United States and its allies are winning virtually every tactical clash in both countries.
In Iraq, however, al-Qaeda is clearly losing in every province. It is being reduced to a losing struggle for control of Nineveh and Mosul. There is a very real prospect of coalition forces bringing a reasonable degree of security if decisions such as Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's announcement Friday to extend his militia's cease-fire six months continue over a period of years.
Military victory is far more marginal in Afghanistan.
NATO and international troops can still win tactically, but the Taliban is sharply expanding its support areas as well as its political and economic influence and control in Afghanistan. It has scored major gains in Pakistan, which is clearly the more important prize for al-Qaeda and has more Pashtuns than Afghanistan. U.S. commanders privately warn that victory cannot be attained without more troops, without all members of NATO and the International Security Assistance Force fully committing their troops to combat, and without a much stronger and consistent effort by the Pakistani army in both the federally administered tribal areas in western Pakistan and the Baluchi area in the south.
- WE CAN WIN - IF WE HAVE THE RESOLVE TO WIN.
- ALL OBAMA AND HILLARY PROMISE IS THE "RESOLVE TO RETREAT" - AND MAYBE TALK TO OUR ENEMIES AS WE DO SO.
- THAT GUARANTEES THE ENEMY A VICTORY.