Secretary of Defense Robert Gates believes there is lingering anger in Europe oveer the Iraq war and that is hindering efforts to obtain a complete commitment from NATO to wage war in Afghanistan. He wants Europeans to separate their feelings about Iraq from the needs in Afghanistan for more troops to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida. “From our standpoint, I worry for many Europeans the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are confused. I think they combine the two. Many of them have a problem with our involvement in Iraq and project that to Afghanistan and don’t understand the very different–for them–very different kind of threat posed by al-Qaida in Afghanistan as opposed to the militant group in Iraq that goes by the same name.” He urges Europe to “leave aside” the issue of Iraq from the Afghanistan war.
Unfortunately, Secretary Gates is asking the impossible– how can any nation separate the fighting in Afghanistan from the debacle and tragedy of Iraq. Europeans, like any intelligent American, know that Bush withdrew American forces from Afghanistan where they could have accomplished the mission of completely defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida. There is a stong possiblity, if America in 2002 had focused on building a viable Afghanistan we might not be in the present situation. Gates is asking Europeans to have their soldiers die becaus of the inept and criminal actions of Presidnt Bush. Perhaps, Secretary Gates might begin his lectures to Europeans with an apology for the disastrous Bush policy in Iraq.