Akbar Ahmed article on Afghanistan: “America has yet to grasp the cost of losing in Afghanistan”

An op-ed from The Guardian about Obama/McChrystal and whether the US should send more troops into Afghanistan.

General Stanley McChrystal has all but admitted defeat in Afghanistan. Unless he gets an additional 40,000 troops, the game is up. Unusually for a commanding officer in the middle of a war, the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan has gone public with his thoughts. Equally unusual, he is pleading for a “new strategy“. His appeal falls on strangely deaf American ears. Polls confirm that more than half of the US public have no interest in staying on in Afghanistan. Barack Obama, who had begun his presidency emphasising the importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan, appears increasingly like an articulate but absent–minded professor. He needs to be a much more involved commander-in-chief. His Nato partners are already wobbling and will soon increase pressure to pull out troops altogether.

The enormous cost of losing in Afghanistan is yet to dawn on the American public. Should the US and Nato withdraw, neighbouring regional powers such as Russia, China and Iran will rush to fill the vacuum. None of them will be friendly to US interests in the region. Pakistanis who already harbour considerable resentment towards America, feeling much like jilted lovers, may be pushed over the brink into fully fledged anti-Americanism. It is well to remind ourselves that Pakistan is nuclear.

To continue reading the article, please click here.


2 responses to “Akbar Ahmed article on Afghanistan: “America has yet to grasp the cost of losing in Afghanistan”

  1. Someone should send this to President Obama. And tell him that maybe he should spend more time with his general then David Letterman if he really wants to win.

  2. As was the case in Vietnam, it seems like President Obama is following a quasi-strategy that flip flops daily depending on what the most recent public opinion polls are saying about the war. We failed in Vietnam and we are perilously close to failing in Afghanistan. We have once again underestimated the strength and intestinal fortitude of people that are fighting for an ideology while putting General McChrystal in an impossible position.

    The world is watching and General McChrystal is still waiting for his troops. However, the Taliban is not waiting, as they are fighting what they believe is a war that they can win. President Obama is more concerned with fighting the Afghanistan war on the political home front rather than on the battle front in Afghanistan.

    As history has shown, it takes soldiers on the ground to get the job done right. While it costs money to give General McChrstal his troops, the cost of not doing so will be measured in an international human currency that will cost all of us dearly unless we act now to support our troops. Time is of the essence.

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