Remember Afghanistan? Other than the occasional, information-free story about Taliban bombings or NATO operations, we don't hear much from The Forgotten War. Obviously, there's way too many important things to say about flag pins and senatorial mistresses to waste our time discussing a war we've been fighting for the last six years. Or, at least, that's how the US news outlets treat Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, history marches on. This post at Arrgghhh! shows us what we're missing. If every news item now has to have a presidential election spin, it's also a snapshot of what the next US president will be facing. Whatever happens in Iraq--stay, leave, draw up, draw down--we'll still be in Afghanistan. However, we won't necessarily have a national consensus about what we should be doing there.
The news item quoted at Castle Arrgghhh! might be accurate reporting, or it might be wishful thinking wrapped in a press release. Either way, it's a picture of what should be happening--and still could.
Pashtun or Tajik, Afghans are tired of decades of war. They're sick of the Taliban mucking up their lives. A lot of expatriate and refugee Afghans would also like to return home. An ANA capable of the operation described is well within the realm of possibility, all stereotypes about the Afghans aside.
If I were making a run for the White House (again with the election!), I'd make Afghanistan a big part of the debates. Turn any national security discussion into a detailed discussion of Afghanistan. Here are the people we abandoned once before, and we're abandoning again. Here is where the mettle of the United States in the Islamic world is being tested. Here is where we can learn how to fight these small but challenging wars a lot better than we are now. Unless you have a real strategy for Afghanistan, you're yet another irresponsible American politician.