SEnator John McCain once again insisted he knows the correct military strategy to “win the war in Afghanistan.” He was reacting to comments by Barack Obama that we need to wind down the war in Iraq and concentrate on Afghanistan. For some reason, the senator from Arizona concluded Senator Obama believes we can not win in Afghanistan unless we lose in Iraq. In his usual boastful manner, McCain boasted, “I know how to win wars. And, if I’m elected president, will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq with a comprehensive strategy for victory.” He insisted the first step on the road to victory was dispatching three m ore brigades to Afghanistan. Senator McCain claims there is a “vast difference” between Obama’s call for 10,000 more troops in Afghanistan and his own. We assume the difference is that McCain said we need more troops and when he says something, it means more than when anyone else says the same thing.
Senator McCain believes there is need to double the size of the Afghan army to 160,000. He promised the American people “I won’t bluster, I won’t make idle threats. But understand this, when I am commander-in-chief, there will be nowhere the terrorists can run and nowhere they can hide.” He also assured one and all that Osama bin Laden would be captured by the former war hero.
Unfortunately, when rhetoric is laid aside, John McCain’s strategy is no different than that of George Bush– a belief more troops will win the battle for Afghanistan. A Russian army of hundreds of thousands was forced to retreat from Afghanistan but McCain believes he knows how to avoid that fate. Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, contains formidable mountains which historically have been used by militants to fight governments. Senator McCain has no military strategy beyond bluster and buoyant cries he will win. Sorry, Senator McCain, saying something doesn’t make it come true.
The war in Afghanistan requires a diplomatic component, an economic component, and a political component in addition to the military. Senator McCain simply does not grasp the complexity of what is required.