Last week, President Obama laid out his plan for Afghanistan. His plan calls for committing 21,000 more troops and providing Pakistan 1.5 billion per year in non-military aid. To Al-Qaeda he says, “We will defeat you”. Many critics say that he is only widening a war in a region that history has shown to be impossible to claim victory. The Russians tried in the 80’s and ended up with egg on their faces.
From what I know about the area, it seems to me that 21,000 troops won’t do the trick, if we are talking about conventional warfare. I hope our president isn’t thinking in conventional terms, here. But of the small details he’s given, I have hope that he’s thinking outside the box, or at least moving away from the “with us or against us” mentality that has only created more enemies than allies.
The majority of the people in that region just want to live in peace. By indiscriminately bombing towns and villages killing many to root out a few terrorists, we create more terrorists. The war will not be won with unmanned predator drones. The war will not be won with shock and awe. It just won’t be won that way.
So how do we win the war? We win the war by creating peace. I know it sounds so cliché. But really, many of the men who joined the fight over there have nothing to lose. When there is despair, anger is sure to follow.
President Obama’s plan for Afghanistan recognizes that this war can’t be won by bombing these people to kingdom come. You have to give the people a reason to stop the fighting. The plan calls for training Afghan police and military. It gives Pakistan money to build schools and infrastructure in the regions along the border of Afghanistan where the Taliban and terrorists have found safe haven. It is a plan to give the people hope for the future. In turn, they will go about trying to live their lives instead of strapping bombs on their backs.
That’s how Al Qaeda will be defeated. They will lose their foot soldiers and won’t have the army to fight.
At least, that’s how I hope things work out. Maybe I’m just making eggs into omelets. What do you thin