Saturday, February 21, 2009

'The greatest need of all is an exit strategy'

Afghanistan has the smell of South Vietnam in 1965
Joseph L. Galloway, McClatchy: What's desperately needed now are a far more subtle definition of what constitutes success in Afghanistan and a simultaneous injection of aid projects to improve the lot of a population that's endured more than three decades of war and civil war.

The greatest need of all is an exit strategy that takes into account the fact that Afghanistan is surrounded by neighbors, some of them predatory, who have a keen interest in the outcome -- Pakistan, Iran and Russia.

Meanwhile, US commanders are stuck fighting a losing war in a landlocked country with long and insecure supply lines through Pakistan, where rebels and thieves pounce on the vulnerable convoys almost at will -- and more troops will need more supplies.

To put it bluntly, Afghanistan today has the smell of South Vietnam in early 1965, just as the US began ramping up for a war that would last a decade and cost the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and as many as 2 million Vietnamese before it ended in [US] defeat.
Image source here.