During the last election Barack Obama assured the American people we would not “lose” in Afghanistan and the best way to assure that victory was sending in more troops. Secretary of Defense Gates is now struggling with the process of winding down in Iraq as we jump start the military effort in Afghanistan. The assumption of sending 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan from Iraq is based on the belief a “surge” worked in Iraq and will work in another country. A major factor in the success of the “surge” was the work of about 100,000 Sunnis who got tired of al-Qaeda and decided to turn against them. However, a large number of tribal chiefs in Afghanistan prefer the Taliban whose religious ideas are more in accord with their traditional way of life. Another 20,000 or 30,000 troops in Afghanistan will not wok unless support is assured from within the country.
A major mistake of the Bush administration was failing SEVEN YEARS AGO to create an effective national army that would have represented nationality instead of localism. It may be too late to make up for that tragic error. The real issue in Afghanistan is creating a coalition of tribal chiefs. The greatest drawback in achieving that goal is that tribal chiefs think more in accord with Taliban ideas than progressive forces in Afghanistan.