Who do you think made the better argument? Why?
Article reprinted below for educational purposes. I have no idea why the picture was copied too.
No Will, No Way
George Will is dismayed by American casualties in Afghanistan, unhappy about the length of our effort there, dismissive of the contributions of our NATO allies, contemptuous of the Afghan central government, and struck by the country’s backwardness.
I share many of these sentiments. But they are sentiments. It would be better to base a major change in our national security strategy on arguments--especially if you’re advocating a change from a policy that’s been supported for eight years by a bipartisan consensus, and that involves the area that was the staging ground for Sept. 11.
Will does seem to allow that we have a core national interest in Afghanistan--“to prevent re-establishment of al-Qaeda bases” there. He then makes a recommendation that would presumably achieve that goal--that “forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, air strikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan.”
But would this succeed in preventing the re-establishment of terror bases? This “comprehensively revised policy” doesn't sound much more engaged than U.S. Afghan policy in the 1990s. Will would have to explain why it would work better this time--or why the price of failure wouldn’t be higher than the price of continuing to prosecute the war with a revised counterinsugency strategy of the sort Gen. Stanley McChrystal has suggested.
Well, perhaps a counter-insurgency strategy simply can’t work. Writes Will: “Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.”
But as the military historian Fred Kagan explains, counter-insurgency theory and experience suggest that if the Afghan National Army is expanded, as Gen. McChrystal proposes to do, and if there is a surge of several brigades of American forces “to bridge the gap between current Afghan capacity and their future capacity, while simultaneously reducing the insurgency’s capabilities,” then we would have roughly the number of forces necessary to carry out the strategy.
Will acknowledges in passing what seems to be another important national interest--Pakistan, “a nation that actually matters.” But Will never tries to show--counterintuitively--that retreat from Afghanistan would increase rather than decrease the chances of an acceptable outcome in Pakistan. And this is to say nothing of the broader consequences of defeat in the Afghan theater in the war against the jihadists. If the United States of America is driven out of Afghanistan by the Taliban, the group that hosted the Sept. 11 attackers--what then?
Will closes with an appeal to Charles de Gaulle: “Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck's decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. Genius is not required to recognize that in Afghanistan, when means now, before more American valor...is squandered.”
But let’s be honest. Will is not calling on the United
States to accept a moderate degree of success in Afghanistan, and simply to stop short of some overly ambitious goal. Will is urging retreat, and accepting defeat.
As Will says, we have sent America’s finest to fight in Afghanistan. It is true that we have under-resourced and poorly strategized that fight. The right way to keep faith with our soldiers and Marines is for our national leaders now to support a strategy, and to provide the necessary resources, for victory.