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

Two Genocidal Jihadist Armies Merge in the Cowardice of Silence

By Matthew Clark1426014077761

The “ Islamic State Africa .” Not the words anyone wanted to hear, but it should come as no surprise. The most barbarically brutal jihadist army in Africa, Boko Haram, has joined with the most heinous jihadist army in the Middle East, ISIS – the Islamic State. Boko Haram, as we have long warned ,

read more

Teach the True Nature of the Enemy

By David French1425404575664

Late last week the New York Times ran an essay by a Marine infantry officer, Timothy Kudo , based on Mr. Kudo’s experience giving orders to kill men in Afghanistan. He didn’t pull the trigger, but he gave the orders — often viewing the action on grainy screens. His essay is thoughtful, though it...

read more

President Won’t Call ISIS ‘Muslim?’

By David French1424895473737

So, it turns out that at least some ISIS supporters believe that our government’s persistent refusal to understand or acknowledge their Islamic roots — instead preferring to rely on standard “legitimate grievances” or “root causes” explanations for jihad — actually grants ISIS a significant...

read more

It's a War Against Jihad Not Poverty

By Jay Sekulow1424378951298

Now we know why apocalyptic jihadists rule vast stretches of the Middle East, beheading and burning alive all who oppose them. Because it’s too hard to start a business in Syria. At least that’s the verdict of State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, who declared earlier this week that fighting...

read more