By Anthony H. Cordesman
No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States.
Blaming weak governments or trying to rush them into effective action by threatening to leave will undercut them long before they are strong enough to act.Any American political leader who cannot face these realities, now or in the future, will ensure defeat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Any Congress that insists on instant victory or success will do the same. We either need long-term commitments, effective long-term resources and strategic patience — or we do not need enemies. We will defeat ourselves.
Now, Anthony Cordesman isn’t THE favorite military advisor for Democratic Party leaders (there is no ONE favorite), but he is one of those most often pointed towards by the left whenever they want to feed the anti-Bush/anti-war monster that they created. For years (really, since the sandstorm during the invasion), he’s been quoted and half-quoted and misquoted and been used and misused as a target for people like Sen Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Pelosi, and every Democratic Presidential candidate. Now, Mr. Cordesman has gone to the war zone on yet another fact-finding mission, and the news is good for America/bad for the Democrats who advocate retreat from Iraq.