One of the best, and most objective assessments of America’s rush to war in Iraq and Afghanistan is a column in the Washington Post today. It is particularly interesting in that it is written by one of the early and staunchest supporters of the war, Ted Koppel, a journalist embedded with the US troops during their march to Baghdad in 2003.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090904735.html?hpid%3Dtopnews&sub=AR
If I have a criticism, it is the same one I have mentioned before, namely the assumption that the local governments will permit the continued presence of US troops in their country. Koppel, like many others in the West, still speaks of the necessity for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years to come as if it is the decision of the US alone, not that of whatever government is in place. My question remains as always: what if the local government refuses? As Koppel points out the US does not have the resources to conduct a multi front war in what would be the hostile environments of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. If India were to enter the fray to counter Pakistan, we would be faced with a regional nuclear conflict.
The solution, in my view, is simple – withdrawal and containment.