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January 27, 2009
Afghanistan tops U.S. list of military challenges

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Afghanistan is the greatest military challenge facing the U.S., but that dealing with the difficulties will require more than military strength.

Vikram Singh of the Center for a New American Security joins Martin Savidge to discuss Gates’ testimony, civilian casualties and how the Obama administration will deal with the Taliban.

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3 comments

#3

John and elish are arguing across each other and I couldn’t disagree more with either of the extremes they present.
Provision of food, medical care, and infrastructure-building have been taking place in Afghanistan –at great expense to the US taxpayer and with great benefit to Afghans, so let’s not say that we’ve not done anything right. Clearly what’s been counterproductive is the counterterrorism focus of US troops which has left them hunkered in fire bases when not attacking. This, accompanied by fidelity to doctrines of overwhelming force, has created too many civilian casualties and not enough progress.
The military, State, and USAID can’t really do much more though until they get more resources, especially funding. Hence the upcoming “surge” (which is conveniently ignored in John Kantor’s screed).
Realistic expectations are necessary. Afghanistan is the poorest nation in the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa (5th from bottom if you include those countries). It seems people think that nation-building could’ve (and should’ve) transformed Afghanistan by now. It’s unrealistic to expect Afghanistan to come up to par with Pakistan (or any of the ‘Stans) within the next 20 years, it simply doesn’t have the foundation upon which to build. That’s not to say we couldn’t be doing more —and much, much better.

#2

Just more sick hypocrisy from another Left-Wing “Propaganda-Tank.” You want a better world? You want less suffering? Then fight for it. OBie won’t – he’s just posturing to get ready to Cut-n-Run. He supported allowing Saddam to continue his genocide and he supported the terrorists who murdered 4,000 American soldiers in Iraq. And he’s already backtracking on Bin Laden. It’s not his daughters who are going to get acid thrown in their faces. The world is the way it is because of sick so-called “Liberal” who are nothing more than hypocrites, cowards, and fools.

#1

the US has killed hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan and now Pakistan, and done very little in terms of providing people with food, medical care, housing and education. What is the goal of this policy? It seems like it can only create more enemies and push more people towards anti-US forces. This policy is getting us nowhere and only causing suffering.Te only way to win Afghanistan is to provide people with their basic needs, including jobs and security, and stop killing them. Singh mentions a new direction, but I remain skeptical…

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