Our ultimate objective is for Muslims to:
- reject violence as a method of spreading Islam, and
- accept persuasion as the preferred method of spreading Islam.
Our strategy is to accomplish this sooner via speeding the introduction of modernity into Muslim nations. This is a long term strategy.
Modernity + freedom + prosperity = path to moderate Islam and away from fundamentalist Islam
When Iraq and Afghanistan are free and prosperous, the peoples of neighboring nations will naturally desire their own modernization. Freedom and prosperity will save lives and ease human suffering -- in Arabia, in Persia, and correspondingly in America and elsewhere.
Iraq is primed for a relatively rapid (5-20 years) introduction of suitable modernity for this goal to begin to be realized.
Afghanistan is not. Afghanistan is maybe a 30-50 year project, or longer.
We can succeed (see Max Boot article at top) in speeding the introduction of modernity into Afghanistan. Those who say we cannot succeed are flatly wrong - just as they were wrong about the permanence of the USSR and of the Cold War, just as they were wrong about the permanence of evil oligarchy in Iraq, just - to wander a bit - as they were wrong in claiming Star Wars Missile Defense would never work.
Success in Afghanistan is also a question of political will. We must either recommit to succeeding, or we must get our people out. It is tremendously immoral to lose a war. It is more immoral to expend additional lives in a cause to which we are not committed.
To sum up:
- Best Option: Victory!
- Best Worst Option: Get out now.
- Worst Worst Option: Expend additional lives of brave young men in a cause to which we are not politically committed.
I was disturbed, during the election, at the way both Barack and McCain used Afghanistan as a political cudgel. I was especially concerned at the way Barack blithely asserted that more troops would win the day in Afghanistan. Max Boot says more troops are needed. Yet, Afghanistan is not sumo wrestling. Rather, Afghanistan is a complex counterinsurgency puzzle.