To conduct an effective counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign, it is my understanding that one must also have a legitimate government that has the support of the people.
But Afghan president Hamid Karzai recently told members of parliament that he would join the Taliban if outside governments continued to pressure him.
Regardless of whether or not Karzai was serious, his remark effectively legitimized the Taliban. Has Karzai forgotten that tens of thousands of foreign troops are currently fighting the very terrorists he threatened to join? And the billions of dollars being spent to improve his country while the Taliban is busy destroying said improvements?
At this point, I don't see how a COIN campaign can possibly achieve victory in Afghanistan. But then again, perhaps it never was since our leaders refuse to even use the word victory.
Maybe it is time to ask ourselves what George S. Patton would do. Old Blood and Guts was unceremoniously dumped by a military that was far less PC than what we have today (I doubt Patton would be promoted past Corporal in today's Army). But he knew how to fight. And isn't that the point of our armed forces anyways?
Given the chance, Patton would have today's military run through Afghanistan like s--t through a goose (and don't tell me our troops couldn't do it if they had the support). The Taliban would learn the hard way that hiding behind women and children and fighting from mosques isn't such a good idea. Real quick-like, the Taliban's supporters - tacit or otherwise - would either change their minds or die in battle. Knowing that certain death awaits those who care to join the jihad would have a chilling effect on recruitment as well.
Then the Afghan people might realize that it's the Taliban - not the U.S. - that's making life bad for them. Rather than complain of - or fabricate - collateral damage from coalition air strikes, Afghans would turn on their Taliban for the IEDs that just so happen to kill or maim far more Afghans than they do foreign troops, or for any of the group's innumerable atrocities committed against their own people.
There is no perfect solution, as fighting the Taliban without nation building would result in an environment where the Taliban can keep popping back up - although they would be significantly weakened each time. In that case, effective use of intelligence and special operations would strike them as soon as they threatened the U.S. again. In war, the most dedicated wins. And when we fight to the best of our ability, no terrorist group can outlast us.
If there was a compromise that could have been reached without resorting to war, we would have done so. But the Taliban will not compromise. Therefore, war is unavoidable - it's basic human nature. And this war was declared on us. That being said, it would behoove us to begin fighting. Cutting the Taliban a $500 million stimulus check will not change their minds. Announcing to our enemies where we will attack next, or encouraging them to further exploit the rules of war by emasculating our rules of engagement will not change their minds. Neither will building schools, roads, or painting their picket fences. We can't change their minds. And since we can't compromise on our security, then war is the only choice.
We have been in Afghanistan for nearly ten years. I am not even sure why our troops are there now to be quite honest. After 9/11, I was under the impression that we sent troops in order to deny al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups the ability to operate training camps to conduct further terrorist attacks against the U.S. or our interests.
When Karzai legitimizes the very terrorists we are fighting, it's high time to let the military be the military, and stop using them like public works employees and politicians.