It's time for NATO forces to pack up and hand Afghanistan back to the Pentagon. According to top US military leaders, these past eight years really don't matter, they're only getting started on the real war. From McClatchey Newspapers:
Top Pentagon leaders Thursday insisted that despite an expected request for more American troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. isn't engaged in nation building there and that although violence is increasing, the military effort there is "only now beginning."
In a news conference Thursday at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded to mounting criticism that the Obama administration can't define success in Afghanistan.
Critics charge that the administration's effort to build a stable and secure nation are unachievable because of rampant corruption in the Afghan central government, a disjointed coalition force structure, a resurgent Taliban and the absence of cooperation from neighboring Pakistan.
Gates, in response to a question, said the war is "not slipping through the administration's fingers."
Although it's rarely mentioned, America already has more forces in Afghanistan than the Soviets had at their peak. It's widely believed there are as many, if not more, "contractors" - that is to say private mercenaries - as US soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. When the mercenary force is added in the existing numbers far exceed the 125,000 the Soviets had in their day.
If America's military effort truly is "only beginning," just what have they been playing at these past eight years? Why were they constantly berating NATO members for somehow not pulling their weight when the US wasn't taking Afghanistan seriously, wasn't fighting to win, all these years?
To me this arrogance merely confirms what I've claimed all along: that NATO forces were deployed to Afghanistan to babysit that war while American forces played in the sandbox also known as Iraq. Fair enough but it's time that the grownups came back home and took over again. Time for us to leave.
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