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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ten National Security Myths

Myth 3. We cannot allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists. We therefore must redouble our military efforts there or face another terrorist attack.
Since Barack Obama and John McCain both support sending more troops to Afghanistan, the election may create a bipartisan consensus for increasing the US military commitment to "winning" the "right" war. But such a consensus would be based on several mistaken notions.
First, the United States and its NATO allies are losing the war in Afghanistan not because we have had too few military forces but because our military presence, along with the corruption of the Hamid Karzai government, has gradually turned the Afghan population against us, swelling the ranks of Taliban recruits. American airstrikes have repeatedly killed innocent civilians. Sending thousands of additional troops will not secure a democratic and stable Afghanistan, because the country is not only deeply divided but also fiercely resistant to outside forces. Indeed, more troops may only engender more anti-American resistance and cause groups in neighboring Pakistan to step up their support for the Taliban in order to stop what they see as a US effort to advance US and Indian interests in the region. As the British and the Soviets discovered before us, Afghanistan can easily become a trap for any great power seeking to establish control of the country.


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