General Petraeus cautioned the media and the American people not to expect dramatic changes in Afghanistan in the coming months although he believes the presence of Marines in Helmand Province already has led to improvements. “We have to be measured in our expectations.” Yes, we do have to be measured in our expectations given we are now entering nine years of fighting in Afghanistan. On one hand, Petraeus is correct in asking Americans not to be expecting too much, on the other hand, he ignores the possibility that, for coming years, we will not be seeing anything other than more casualties. It is not a question of having patience if issues concerning whether there can be dramatic changes occur in the coming years or whether we have more of the same.
A fundamental problem is lack of any coherent plan that differs markedly from previous or current plans. What is our assumption behind believing 130,000 US and NATO soldiers will achieve more than 250,000 Russian soldiers ever attained? Afghanistan is not Iraq and that is a fundamental difference.