General David Petraeus failed to make several points in his confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Armed Sevices Committee last Tuesday. If he was truly being realistic he would have told the Committee that victory in Afghanistan is impossible no matter how long the United States and the West stay there.
He would have said victory means that the Taliban, Al Qaeda and all the other Islamic organizations in Afghanistan devoted to destroying the United States and the West are permanently removed from the country and rendered incapable of launching threats and attacks from there. That is clearly not going to happen because they are acting under Islamic religious imperatives and Afghanistan is strictly religious, to say the least. If the U.S. and the West want to defeat their enemies in Afghanistan they would have to remove Islam from the equation, which they simply cannot do. Suppress it to a degree for a period of time at a terrible cost in blood and money perhaps but remove it, never.
Petraeus should have mentioned all of that.
He would have said victory means that a stable, strong, pro-U.S. and Western government is in place along with institutions and systems that reflect our values and beliefs and that these could and would be maintained without our troops being present. That is also clearly not going to happen, not in the foreseeable future anyway. A military presence to provide security and prop up politicians and governments will be required for an indefinite amount of time. It will, in effect, have to be an occupying army. History tells us this is something the Afghan people will never permit for very long and that they will not rest until all foreign soldiers are gone from their soil, religion or no religion.
Petraeus should have mentioned all of that too.
He would have said that the war against terror must be fought on several fronts, not just the military one. The military can protect America and the West to a certain extent but it cannot win the war on it’s own. Islam is the real enemy and it’s doctrines and strictures must be countered and overcome if terrorism is to be eliminated from our lives and our civilization is to survive. Without weakening our military capabilities in the slightest or becoming reluctant to use them if need be we should devote far more resources towards winning the religious, ideological and propaganda aspects of the war…we have to or else we will lose it, regardless of what we do or don’t do militarily.
The General should have talked about this as well.
That’s reality folks.