The question I asked on September 6 was Did We Just Lose?
Now right-wing pundit Tony Blankley essentially agrees with that headline and leads me to a question for which I have, unfortunately, a ready answer.
With little reporting, and almost without media or governmental comment, the United States has suffered a substantial defeat in the war against radical Islam. Three weeks ago, Pakistan signed the terms of the Waziristan Accord with the northern region of its country called North Waziristan. It was, effectively, the terms of surrender by Pakistan to the Taliban and al Qaeda, which dominate North Waziristan. Pakistan has negotiated a separate peace — the eternal danger to any wartime alliance.
With the exception of a superb article in the Weekly Standard by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and the redoubtable Bill Roggio and a few blogs, such as Flopping Aces, The Fourth Rail and The Belmont Club (apologies to some other blogs I surely have missed) there has been little comment. This column is based largely on the reporting from those sources.
The event itself was reported by the major newspapers, but the abject nature of the surrender passed with almost no comment. But surrender it was.
Yeah, puzzling isn’t it, Tony?
Well, no, not really puzzling at all. We have two parties in this country, just two, and they set the terms of the debate. The GOP has no interest in publicizing the fact that the war in Afghanistan is effectively lost.
And the Democrats? Well, the Democrats are idiots.
The Republicans are hardly going to trumpet the fact that our entire strategy in Afghanistan was just flushed down the toilet by our good buddy, President-til-he’s-assassinated Pervez Musharraf. It’s really hard to overstate just how screwed we are in Afghanistan. The Waziristan accord means that the Taliban has a safe haven. A safe haven that we dare not openly attack for fear of toppling the aforementioned President-cause-he-says-he-is Musharraf.
Why is this fatal? Because it means the Taliban can choose when to fight and when to withdraw to safety. It means they can risk only what they can afford to lose. It means we’re fighting a defensive war. If they hold the initiative all they have to do is bleed us and wait us out, and since they own and we just rent in the neighborhood, guess who’s going to leave first?
Our only move in Afghanistan now is to hope we catch a break — maybe the Taliban lighten up, maybe they start enjoying all that opium money so much they want to start livin’ the good life (pimp my camel,) or maybe Musharraf is replaced by someone with the capacity to get traction in the tribal areas. Hoping we catch a break is not a winning strategy.
So, given the situation, why are Democrats so quiet? Because they are so utterly out of touch with all things military (except for casualty numbers) that they simply don’t know what any of this means. Only if conservatives like Mr. Blankley sit them down and explain it to them using flash cards, simple diagrams and a catchy jingle, are the Democrats going to figure it out.
Even then, even if Democrats manage to get their tiny little peacenik-ponytailed heads around the military situation, they will still be unable to capitalize on it. Why? Because they are pathologically incapable of insisting that we needed more force at the start of this war, and more determination, and more American boots on Afghani ground, and still need what Mr. Blankley calls for:
We must come to terms with reality — and soon. We are going to have to substantially increase the size of our army and Marines to face the growing threats to our national security.
From the start the effective strategy for attacking Mr. Bush’s handling of Afghanistan, Iraq and the entire Global War on Terror, has been to attack from the right. Forget lies or truth, right or wrong, I’m talking pure politics, pure power dynamics.
The Bush administration’s line is thinnest on the right. In the simple military terms that the Democrats never manage to grasp: Mr. Bush’s right flank is exposed, it’s hanging, it’s unanchored, there’s no artillery, there’s no reserve, oh my God a troop of determined Girl Scouts could turn Mr. Bush’s right flank and roll his army up.
So naturally the Democrats attack his left flank. They attack where he’s strongest. They choose the most difficult ground, concentrate their forces where Mr. Bush’s artillery has a clear, point-blank field of fire, and they run up the f***ing hill like a bunch of pansy Picketts, waving their No Blood For Oil signs and throwing Granola bars.
I’ve been yelling about this for what, three years now between this blog, my own blog and and my former blog?
How do Democrats not get that you hit the weak spot? How do they not get that? How f***ing stupid do you have to be not to get that if you attack where the opponent is weak you can turn his flank and roll him up like a Wal-Mart rug?
Mr. Bush’s policy in Afghanistan is a rusty 1967 Dodge Dart, losing parts and dragging its muffler and still, improbably, running down his political opponents.
(cross posted from Sideways Mencken.)