Everything that can go wrong is going wrong in Afghanistan
The situation is so bad militarily that The New York Times reported on April
12th, "Taliban insurgents have such a strong grip on such a broad area –
in particular the southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan and Zabul –
that even with the anticipated arrival of an additional 30,000 American troops
this year, the elections will not take place in some areas, several Western and
Afghan officials in Kabul said."
The New York Times report went on, "But beyond providing
security for elections, the American, NATO and Afghan security forces also have
a broader mission: to stem the insurgency, which has sharply escalated in scale
and casualties every year since 2006." The American dead and
casualties to date in Afghanistan
are 672 dead, 47 in 2009 alone, and at least 2,766 injured. Last
week, six NATO soldiers – all of them Canadian – were killed in a roadside
blast. The Coalition casualties are 452 dead since the war began in 2001.
The Taliban forces without the sophisticated aid and training
provided to the Afghan army and police, according to The Times, "will be
determined to respond to any influx of new American forces. Recent
attacks by insurgents and Al Qaeda have indicated a growing sophistication and
ambition, including spectacular bombings and wave attacks by multiple gunmen on
government buildings. Those are likely to continue, Afghan officials
said."April 29, 2009 will mark 100 days since President Obama assumed office. The current war
is not his doing, but if he increases our involvement in that war, as he plans
to do, it will become his, and that would be a terrible mistake. Afghanistan
is a corrupt country that lives on the proceeds of drug cultivation. The
drugs are sold in large part in the U.S.
a country not worth saving even if that could be done by sacrificing the lives
of our young men and women.
We rightfully invaded Afghanistan
responding to the Al Qaeda attack upon the U.S.
on 9-11. We expected our NATO allies to honor their pledge — an attack
upon one is an attack upon all. Unfortunately, many NATO countries turned
out to be summer soldiers, declining to come to our aid in the numbers they are
capable of, and leaving the major fire fights to the U.S.
Most recently, our NATO allies have declined President
Obama's request to add sizeable combat forces to the NATO and U.S.
forces there now, while President Obama is sending 17,000 more combat troops
and 4,000 more training personnel. The British, Canadians, Dutch and
Danish have been the most supportive, but even they have been reluctant to heed
President Obama's call for more combat troops.
The war in a traditional sense is lost in Afghanistan
just as it is in Iraq
As soon as we leave Iraq
there will be an escalation of the civil war, certainly between the Shia and
the Sunnis, and probably involving the Kurds as well. In the same April
12th New York Times, it was reported that "Members of the Sunni Awakening
Councils, the former insurgents who switched sides to help bring calm to Iraq,
are increasingly being besieged from all sides. Thirteen members were
killed by a suicide bomber while they gathered to collect their pay south of Baghdad
on Saturday, in the latest of a string of attacks against Awakening members in
recent weeks. Some of the Sunnis also worry that the Shiite-led
government has begun singling out the councils' leaders for arrest while their
chief patron, the American military, slowly abandons them."
President Obama should come up with a new plan to get out
even more quickly from Iraq
and to simultaneously leave Afghanistan
If forces hostile to the U.S.
pursue us in the U.S.
homeland or abroad, as they well might, we should retaliate with special forces
and bombs. Now, when we bomb in Iraq
civilians are injured because the terrorists hide among them, and some
civilians voluntarily assist the terrorists, we are assailed by those
I believe reasonable and responsible worldwide public
opinion would agree that the people of Iraq
an obligation to capture the terrorists living in their midst, and if they
can't, we have the right to go after them and root them out, knowing there will
be civilian casualties. If we don't exercise our right of self defense,
we will be the patsy.
Pakistan recently turned over to Taliban and terrorist rule the Swat Valley
country. In my view, the Swat Valley
should be subject to bombing if necessary for our self-defense. This
action is further proof that the Pakistani government is a weak and
The Obama government prefers to no longer use the phrase
"war on terror." Whatever they prefer to call it, this war will
be with us for the next 30 to 50 years. We should not commit more ground
troops to Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Instead, massive bombing and special forces should be used.
The Honorable Edward Irving Koch served New