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Slade Gorton
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Slade Gorton

A former U.S. Senator and Washington State Attorney General, Slade Gorton served on the 9/11 Commission.

No Victory on the Cheap

President Obama has called Afghanistan a necessary war, and he is right. Afghanistan is where 9/11 was hatched and defeat there will inevitably hatch new 9/11s. At the same time, it is a more difficult challenge than Iraq in the same large proportion that Afghanistan is more primitive than Iraq, more repressive of women, with more men with little chance of marriage and thus easily susceptible to a life of conflict and terrorism.

Once again we learned in Iraq that we cannot fight a successful war at half speed. Only with the surge did we see our way to at least a quasi-victory. And that is the only way out in Afghanistan, as difficult as it may be and as grim as the example of the Soviet Union remains. We do have a better base of support and a more sophisticated and sympathetic approach, but the president must listen to his military advisers and not seek for a non-existent road to victory on the cheap.

By Slade Gorton

 |  August 25, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Category:  Military Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Slade, go back to sleep. BHO has already said there will be no victory in Afghanistan; there is no war on terror; there are no jihadists etc. When a country goes to war, it should be with the use of all of its might. Only through the complete capitulation of the enemy is a war won. There are no half measures; only unconditional surrender should be accepted. WWI and Korea taught us that armistices do not work, and the results of cutting out of Vietnam left millions dead; but there is no political will to win; as the left is so willing to bring this country down, which is exemplified by the current occupant of our house.

Posted by: BeanerECMO | August 26, 2009 9:44 PM
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I have two issues with the article:

(1) The 'surge' did nothing other than buy us some time to get out. By now it is obvious that Iraq is the same mess we created in 2004/2005. To add insult to injury, it is growing closer to Iran every day;

(2) Since this is apparently the best we can 'hope' for in Afghanistan, we need to get out soonest. Afghanistan was a necessary war in 2001, may be 2002. By now it is too late.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | August 26, 2009 9:12 PM
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'Victory' in Afghanistan will likely take decades. Most people are illiterate. The road network barely exists. The country itself is a dubious amalgam of Pashtuns (in the south) and Tajiks and Uzbeks (in the north). Each group's loyalty is to its own, not to a theoretical country with arbitrary borders. The current president by the way is a puppet whose bodyguards are Americans and who has no political party. Our real interests are next door, in Pakistan. It is vital to keep the nuclear missiles there out of the hands of terrorists. The US should concentrate its troops and diplomacy on propping up that state, not 'winning' an unwinnable war bequeathed to us by the Bush/Cheney criminal gang.

Posted by: hairguy01 | August 26, 2009 8:49 PM
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What does Slade Gorton mean by winning wars with "surge"? Is that the same as mass extermination of indigenous population that stands between American big business and sought after natural resources or perhaps complete control of land surface?

Posted by: clark010 | August 26, 2009 5:39 PM
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"...with more men with little chance of marriage and thus easily susceptible to a life of conflict and terrorism."


This is the first time I have heard anyone raise this point. If it has been raised before, I missed it. I have often wondered about the Chinese situation where boys are purposefully conceived at the expense of girls.

In this country it would also appear that marriage is less a priority, at least in part, because women's rising economic tides, opportunities and ambitions make them less dependent on men and marriage.

Hope this topic gets seriously pursued somewhere.

Posted by: Spectator | August 26, 2009 4:02 PM
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"quasi-victory"?

Is that anything like "temporary"? I'm not sure that's a good reason to ramp up the action in Afghanistan.

Posted by: st50taw | August 26, 2009 3:53 PM
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War is the ultimate terror and a crime against humanity. There is no war of necessity. Most people can justify anything.Go out now and save the lifes of the innocent Afghans and the innocent soldiers who were sent by the politicians.Killing the maximum number of people is not victory. Be human

Posted by: mansour112 | August 26, 2009 2:21 PM
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This makes sense to me. As much as I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, I supported the surge, because it finally threw out the window the remnants of the horribly flawed policies of Rumsfeld (which, by the way, ignored the op plans of the "men in the field" prior to the invasion), and returned to a strategy that historically works.

Posted by: iamweaver | August 26, 2009 11:02 AM
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Understand that there is a large, growing and deeply inculcated swath of about 20% of this Earth's population, which can be correctly categorized as well-armed theocrat/barbarians, and who call themselves Islamists--millions of whom, world-wide, want to achieve the nirvana of the promised 84 virgins by committing suicide while killing as many innocent others as possible in one strike, by whatever the "convenient" choice of explosives may be. Don't you get it yet? Neither did Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. This entire population must be convinced, and will only be convinced in the same way that Emperor Hirohito was convinced, via Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Until the Islamists truly experience atomic destruction/death, this Earth will not change...or would you rather have a nuclear-armed Iran, Syria, Sudan, etc? They've already got Khan's farm-teams roaming from Pakistan, selling the nuclear-paperwork. (Nixon/Ford's Office-Soldier, Dick Cheney, didn't intend to nip it with Operation Desert Storm in '91; then came back with a misplaced vengeance after 9/11--the office king who nearly brought the world down.)

Posted by: marc85 | August 26, 2009 10:52 AM
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the author mentions the grim example of the soviet union in afganistan..how about not forgetting our grim example in vietnam..no wonder the nation is broke..get out now!!!!

Posted by: rmcgolden | August 26, 2009 10:13 AM
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