Search  |  Login  |  Register

By David French1308871289000

Among the many (immense) challenges of counterinsurgency warfare is understanding what — exactly — is going on. The message from the president can be boiled down to two words: Trust me. Trust him that the Afghan version of the surge has accomplished its aims. Trust him that the Afghan army will be ready for the transition. Trust him that the withdrawal decision was made for sound military (and not political) reasons.

We have to trust because we know so little. I can remember being shocked in 2007 — when I arrived in Iraq and finally saw real information about the state of the war — at the gap between my supposed knowledge and the actual on-ground reality. Even the best reporters wrote about Iraq with barely-informed suppositions. I served with better-informed suppositions, but no certainties. I had an avalanche of information available at my fingertips, but it wouldn’t tell me if the Iraqi police officers next to me or the Iraqi soldiers at the checkpoint down the road would fight if we weren’t beside them. All the PowerPoint slides in the world (and believe me, the U.S. Army can, in fact, generate all the PowerPoint slides in the world) wouldn’t tell me if our hard-won progress would endure.

We could make educated guesses. We could beat down the enemy until it seemed that its very spirit was cracking. But we couldn’t know the future. Unlike allied soldiers standing in the rubble of Tokyo, we couldn’t know if our gains were temporary.

At some point we had to take a risk. The Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police had to go out, fight, and risk defeat. They had to walk on their own. Let them go too soon and they fail. Wait too long and the sense of dependence is cemented and separation becomes that much more difficult. What is the proper balance in Afghanistan? I don’t know, and I’m not sure any living person has a definite answer. But one thing is clear: We will begin taking that risk in Afghanistan within the next year.

In the final analysis — and whether we like it or not — our commander-in-chief has made his call. Our soldiers do their duty. Our civilian citizens hold him accountable for the results.

Latest in
Jihad

A Good Week for Jihadists

By David French1413313445256

It’s only Tuesday, and it’s already been a very good week for the Middle East’s jihadists. First, despite America’s periodic air attacks, the Islamic State has not only taken half of Kobani, the Kurdish town on the Turkish/Syrian border, it’s also advancing deep into Iraq – taking Iraqi Army bases...

read more

When at War Borders Need to be Secure

By Jay Sekulow1413308602450

A nation at war needs to secure its borders. It is simply astonishing that a statement like that—a matter of simple common sense and basic national sovereignty—is politically controversial. It is simply astonishing that we’re left debating—like we did last week—whether the arrest of four...

read more

ISIS in Our Midst?

By Matthew Clark1413300781746

For years we’ve heard the threat that our porous border with Mexico could become a free pass for terrorists to enter America. Now that threat appears to be a reality. There are numerous reports that ISIS terrorists have crossed our southern border and are now in America. Representative Duncan...

read more

Releasing GITMO Detainees Helps ISIS

By Matthew Clark1412966115272

Even in the midst of an all out war with ISIS’s jihadist army in Iraq and Syria, President Obama is still insistent on closing GITMO, even if it means releasing more detainees. There is no way around it; this is a fundamentally flawed and devastatingly dangerous strategy. GITMO detainees would be...

read more