• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Kerry Afghan Plan Lacks Boldness

    Senator John Kerry in his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations Monday criticized General McChrystal’s Afghanistan assessment for going “too far, too fast,” yet he failed to lay out an alternative strategy for success or to provide a convincing case against implementation of McChrystal’s specific recommendations.

    Kerry rightly admitted that a U.S. troop pullout could trigger a civil war in the country and destabilize neighboring Pakistan. He also acknowledged that the costs of failure in Afghanistan are “very real.”

    But his plan for moving forward lacks boldness and is unrealistic with regard to the ferocity of the Taliban insurgency. Kerry essentially argued against McChrystal’s recommendation for a significant troop surge on the grounds that the U.S. first needed “critical guarantees of governance and development capacity.” The fact is Afghans need security and protection from the Taliban insurgents before the Afghan authorities are able to deliver governance and development. Such protection will only come if the U.S. and NATO provide sufficient troop levels for the mission.

    Now that Afghan President Karzai has agreed to hold a run-off election on November 7th, there is the prospect of resolving the Afghan political crisis sparked by the flawed August 20th election. The green light from Karzai should give the Obama administration the confidence to move forward with General McChrystal’s plan for increasing troop levels and implementing a population-centric counterinsurgency mission.

    The ongoing public debate about Afghanistan strategy in Washington has already cost the U.S. credibility with its NATO allies and confused both Afghan and Pakistani partners who believe they must hedge their bets on U.S. commitment to the region, now under serious question.

    If U.S. leaders truly seek to “regain the initiative and reverse the Taliban’s momentum,” as Senator Kerry concluded should be the goal, then President Obama must adopt a realistic strategy based on facts on the ground in Afghanistan, rather than the political winds in Washington. And he must do it sooner rather than later.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Kerry Afghan Plan Lacks Boldness

    1. Freedom of Speech TX says:

      BHO should be using whatever global political capital he has left to insist on a global military mobilization to secure Afghanistan and assist Pakistan.

      It should never be just America and a few allies, while others sit on the sidelines and protect their political rearends with their liberal constituents.

      Of course – THAT will never happen.

    2. Naqib Ullah Wardak says:

      Unfortunately, many people in the United States do not understand the complexity of Afghan’s conflict. It is easy to ask President Barak Obama to send more troops. But imagine if you are sending your son or brother to a meaningless death field. Honestly there is nothing worthwhile in that country for foreigners to die for.

      The purpose of Afghanistan's occupation eight years ago was to catch Osama Ben Laden and those responsible for 9/11. Such a limited goal should not have lasted eight years or things would really get complicated as they are now.

      Afghan issue is not a white and black clear cut. It will be totally wrong to conclude that more troops are needed to solve this conflict. It is simply not a military issue. Sending more troops means more precious lives are lost. Prior to the US troop surge last spring, the US and NATO monthly losses averaged around 25 to 30 deaths a month. But after the surge the death average is over 70 a month. Adding more troops means more losses for the US.

      It is silly to say that more troops will kill more insurgents. Sending more troops that could be seen everywhere will create resentment among the public and will see the US as an occupying power, like the Soviet Union. We should remember that Taliban do not have a popular support in Afghanistan. But adding more foreign troops on the ground will certainly move the situation to that direction.

      Another confusion in the US is that people see conflict in Afghanistan as an issue between extremists and democratic forces. That is not true. There are many Pashtun nationalists among the insurgents. Also, the insurgents have an upper hand in the propaganda war. The US call the insurgents merely extremists, terrorists, and foreign mercenaries. These are general terms that do not have a good use in Afghanistan.

      However, the insurgents call the US and NATO forces foreign occupiers, enemies of Afghan culture and Islam, messengers of Christianity, and spies of Israel. Each one of these has a deep and profound meaning and impact in Afghanistan. Most insurgents are local people and speak local language. If an insurgent and a foreign soldier stand side by side, people will believe the insurgent more.

      Insurgents’ war for public opinion also helped by a corrupt regime in Kabul made of warlords, drug dealers, and criminals. The US pays to these gangs hoping they do something good, but this is a wishful thinking. The only thing you should expect from a murderer is another murder.

      Finally, Afghanistan is facing leadership crisis, as created by the presidential election over the summer. Now everyone knows what kind of people the US supports in Afghanistan – people involved in fraud, lies, and stealing. Unless a true leadership is brought in Afghanistan, adding a million soldiers will still be a failure!

    3. Freedom of Speech TX says:

      Dear Naqib Ullah Wardak,

      Afghan is indeed complex. They have been fighting for thousands of years, if not among themselves than against an "invader". The fact that the vast majority of Afghanis are illiterate does not help matters. It is easy to lead by simply stirring up the passions of religion and nationalism.

      As for "occupiers" Americans do not want to be there. The Afgahans allowed the Taliban to take control and the Taliban gave sanctuary to Islamic Jihadist Terrorists, who in turn committed murder throughout the 1990s to present.

      There is nothing complex about bribes, payoffs, and treachery in a land ruled by tribes and no central Afghan authority. The US gave the Afghans an "opportunity" to have an election. It is not our fault that the corrupt politicians gain control there. Will you explain how you propose bringing "true leadership to Afghanistan" if democratic elections fail because of Afghan corruption?

      There is nothing complex about understanding that Islam is the ONLY religion tolerated by fundamentalist fanatics. The Koran is very clear on apostasy… and the hierchy of non-Muslims. This is brainwashing and control. Taliban and Al Queda hate educating women and the masses. Their followers may find out that these fanatics distort the Koran to justify the beheading murders and REAL torture (not waterboarding) that is taught.

      Even Pakistan has FINALLY realized the danger of losing their country and is FINALLY fighting all-out. A little late but better than never.

      Lastly, these monsters you want to deem as "insurgents" have no problem killing fellow Muslims. The Taliban's treatment of women is horrific and legendary. Most Afghans would prefer to live in peace. Most love their children and want a better life for them. Would you disagree with that? What life can they expect under the "insurgents"? I think we know that…

      You are correct. Ultimately, there is nothing anyone can do if the Afghans do not take control of their country. If limited education, corruption, and greed prevail most Afghans will continue to suffer and their own leaders will have caused it.

      Meanwhile, let's not lose sight of the misery and death that the freedom-loving "insurgents" have brought to the region. I will not forget Al Queda's ultimate goal – the destruction of the West.

    4. Bobbie Jay says:

      A man, such as Kerry, of cowardice, has no boldness.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×