Day by Day



18 April 2011

Bing West, Critic of Afghan War...

Bing West is one of my favorite military authors, a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam, Assistant Secretary of Defense under Reagan, his book The Strongest Tribe, was a company level view of operations in Iraq with observations made form the front line. Like another of my favorite writers, Michael Yon, West gets in with the troops and pays attention. An exceptional scholar and student of history, his latest work on Afghanistan is sobering.

The United States has arrived essentially victorious over the Taliban in Afghanistan. The challenge remains as to "now what". The United States military is the defacto government, providing security, infrastructure and some stability to a nation which has been little more than a collection of tribal regions.

West argues that there is no end game for Afghanistan and we should stick to hunting down and killing Al Queada and Taliban rather than propping up a corrupt government. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan had little governement prior to the war and little in the way of institutions. The only reason it constituted a threat was its ability to harbor large groups of terrorist training camps and a permeable border with Pakistan, not to mention its prime position adjacent to Iran.

Bing West, Critic of Afghan War, Takes Issue With Pentagon - NYTimes.com