Commentary: How will we measure success in Afghanistan?
My question was simple: "Can we win in Afghanistan?" But that only prompted another question: "How do you define victory?" With that, any sense of clarity was a lost hope.
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#1 Jul 8, 2009
This is an exceedingly important question. It is one which civilian academics can contribute to but we must guard against an over reliance on purly quantitative measures. In the end, if the narrative coming from the Afghani people themselves winds up being positive regarding coalition forces intervention and efforts, that will seal the success of the mission.
#2 Jul 12, 2009
Lets take an indepth look at Ireland. It has taken over a generation to attenuate the hostility to an acceptable degree (albeit, zero hostility should be our goal). And yes Great Britan is an external influence that seemingly took sides and subsequently had to engage in major national introspection to adjust attitudes towards the true issues at hand.
So, it will be a long road. As long as Afghanistan is the Poppy Herion Capital of the World it will be wrought with corruption, bloodshed, and external influences.
Keep in mind that Afghanistan was a major trade route between Asia and Persia for Centuries. No way around except by sea--and that was not much of an option.
Much like Columbia, how do we convert the countries crops and labor population into something more acceptable? Its called courage, commitment and most importantly--buy in from the People of the United States and who ever else has staying power. With a depression, yes depression, in our economic status we are most certainly fighting an uphill battle.
This will be a 100 year challenge--not insurmountable, but will test our National Will. If we want to continue to be world leaders, then we must convince our people that this challenge is worth the investment. I have faith in my Nation, and know we will stay the course.
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