Reporting on US aid to Pakistan
Cyber War

Afghanistan could turn out better than Iraq?

Wow, now there is a contrarian view and it doesn't come from some wild-eyed neocon, it comes from Tom Ricks.

Could Afghanistan eventually yield a better result from a U.S. perspective than Iraq?

It's possible, military expert and Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Ricks told Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep for the Thursday issue of the show.

Ricks, who spent part of his youth in Afghanistan and thus knows its people well, may be swayed by his greater familiarity with Afghanistan. But there's logic to his view as well.

An excerpt of his conversation with Steve:

RICKS: I’m actually more optimistic about Afghanistan than I am Iraq. Iraq does look to me like an endless war, not necessarily one where a lot of American troops are going to be fighting and dying.

But I think we have unleashed a chain of events in Iraq and surrounding countries that are going to play out for many years, perhaps even many decades.

STEVE: What makes Iraq even grimmer than Afghanistan as you see it?

RICKS: In Afghanistan we do have a couple of aces in the hole. The biggest one is that the Afghan people have lived under Islamic extremism and fundamentally they don’t want it to come back.

All the polls that have been done show that the Afghan people do not support the Taliban and look at them as a problem. The question is can we and the Afghan government show them an alternative that gives them security and a shot at a better life. We shall see.