Beating Al Qaeda But Losing in Afghanistan?
My New Atlanticist post “Beating Al Qaeda But Losing in Afghanistan?” rounds up several major reports coming out today, the gist of which are:
- Our military strikes against al Qaeda have been so successful that a “complete al Qaeda defeat” is on the horizon.
- We’re finally killing their leaders faster than they can replace them.
- Our human intelligence in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region is finally decent.
- Yet, our top brass say we need a major rethink of our strategy and should refocus on al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Now, these would seem to be in stark contrast. They seem, however, to be in alignment with Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy, which calls for radically narrowing our objectives.
We’re left, it seems, with this:
It would be a supreme irony, indeed, if the war in Afghanistan — entered into by the Bush administration as the opening salvo in the Global War on Terror launched in response to the 9/11 attacks — were successful in destroying al Qaeda and yet perceived as a failure because hubris created unreachable objectives for the mission.