FROM THE ASG BLOG
ASG Blog by Afghanistan Study Group Director Matthew Hoh
In the Autumn of 2006, in the western part of Iraq’s Anbar Province, US Marine and Army units were taking dozens of attacks a day. Leaving one of the many bases we occupied in the Euphrates River Valley seemingly guaranteed a firefight, attack by a sniper or, more likely, a strike from an IED.
The Mendacity of Hope: Why We Need to Leave Afghanistan
ASG Blog by Will Keola Thomas
From “Col. YYY,” described by former Air Force officer and Dept. of Defense military analyst Chuck Spinney as, “an active duty colonel who travels all over Afghanistan…This colonel, unlike many of his peers, actually goes on foot patrols with troops to see things for himself.” The anonymous colonel’s letter is a must read:
Danielle Pletka: “The choices for America in Afghanistan are simpler than they appear…We can win or we can lose”
ASG Blog by Edward Kenney
We have a simple choice in Afghanistan, argues Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute: “we can win or we can lose.” But can we actually win? Pletka thinks so, and she helpfully counters eight arguments which have been raised by war skeptics. Here a counter-counter argument to each of the points she raises:
U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Pays High Price for Afghan Surge Year
AP by Kristin M. Hall
The soldiers of the Army's famed 101st Airborne Division deployed to Afghanistan confident their counterinsurgency expertise would once again turn a surge strategy into a success but are headed home uncertain of lasting changes on the battlefield.
Afghan nation-building programs not sustainable, report says
The Washington Post by Karen DeYoung
The hugely expensive U.S. attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan has had only limited success and may not survive an American withdrawal, according to the findings of a two-year congressional investigation to be released Wednesday. The report calls on the administration to rethink urgently its assistance programs as President Obama prepares to begin drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan this summer.
Durbin calls for quitting Afghanistan
WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said it's time for the United States to get out of Afghanistan, withdrawing many more troops than the administration has proposed.
Poll: Rising number of Americans want U.S. out of Afghanistan
Politico by Jennifer Epstein
As the Obama administration prepares to bring some troops home from Afghanistan next month, a new poll finds a sharply rising number of Americans support the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the country.
War Fatigue in America
The National Interest by Paul Pillar
Signs are increasing that the American people are growing tired enough over fighting two and a half (or whatever the right number is, depending on how you count what's going on in Libya) wars for their fatigue to affect policy, especially through the actions of their elected representatives in Congress.
America’s best secretary of defense and his final error
Foreign Policy by David Rothkopf
But more importantly, whatever the expense is, it is extremely unlikely to be effective and staying longer is likely to only have utility as a political exercise. The troops should go now, as fast as we can draw them down. We should not start with 5,000 troops, but a multiple of that.
How to exit Afghanistan without creating wider conflict
Washington Post by Henry Kissinger
The American role in Afghanistan is drawing to a close in a manner paralleling the pattern of three other inconclusive wars since the Allied victory in World War II: a wide consensus in entering them, and growing disillusionment as the war drags on, shading into an intense national search for an exit strategy with the emphasis on exit rather than strategy.
What We’re Buying in Afghanistan
The New Yorker by Amy Davidson
Our Afghan war is Afghanistan’s military-aid bubble, with the bulk of the benefit going to élites. The report blames poor oversight of aid money, which was then skimmed off, for the Kabul Bank scandal (see Dexter Filkins’s piece for more of the awful details). We are making some Afghans rich, without making most of them like us or their government any more accountable.
It’s time to make peace. The sooner we leave the better
The Times by Jerome Starkey
Our soldiers’ sacrifice has been immense, but we do them no honour by sending more men to their deaths. All our soldiers should now be training up Afghan forces instead of fighting and our diplomats must help heal ethnic rifts within the Government to stop it fracturing when we leave.