A recently retired three star general tells the truth about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here’s a legend that’s going around these days. In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq and toppled a dictator. We botched the follow-through, and a vicious insurgency erupted. Four years later, we surged in fresh troops, adopted improved counterinsurgency tactics and won the war. And then dithering American politicians squandered the gains. It’s a compelling story. But it’s just that — a story.
The surge in Iraq did not “win” anything. It bought time…
The surge legend is soothing, especially for military commanders like me. We can convince ourselves that we did our part, and a few more diplomats or civilian leaders should have done theirs… But as a three-star general who spent four years trying to win this thing — and failing — I now know better.
Send this link to any war drum beating keyboard warrior you encounter.
Unfortunately the General doesn’t go as far as I would like. He says boots on the ground again in Iraq would be futile, but endorses a strategy of containment with air strike. But the take home message of his essay is that we should exit the region and mind our own business. But this is a start and it will do for now.