A lot of debate has been going on about Afghanistan. With the Taliban digging in, the Pakistanis pushing hard and new questions about troop increases, everyone’s wondering what to do with the war we swept under the carpet.
My advice is what it always has been: Learn from the greatest – Alexander the Great.
Alexander would bastardize a modern saying, “Go big or go home.” The way to win in Afghanistan, following in his bloody sandal prints, is to Go Big, Then Go Home.
Afghanistan will never embrace “enlightenment” by Western values. They will embrace our cash. But touch their burkhas, child prostitutes and opium without properly buying them all off, and look out. The best we can hope for is getting a pack of honor-killing, clannish mercenaries on our side.
That has not changed since Alexander’s time. Neither has the threat Afghanistan poses. Turn your back on those bandits at your peril.
So the thing to do now, is to link hands with Pakistan in hitting them as hard as you can. Don’t cut corners – take a page from the famed “Surge” and give the combat commanders at least somewhere near the amount of shooters they want. Then give the Talibs, foreign fighters and local gunslingers a chance to cut terms.
It’s the only way to safe face and keep the coin flowing. Anything less, and you risk Kabul becoming gory sequel to Saigon. But for the sake of American fighting power and Afghani civilians everywhere, make sure you plan on going home after you go big.