I’ve written about how to distinguish between amateurs and professionals. Amateurs study tactics or strategy, the professionals study logistics and personnel.
There is no other greater authority on America’s most pressing foreign policy problems than Dr. Frederick Kagan who resides at ‘The American Enterprise Institute’ in Washington, D.C. The author of Petraeus’ surge in Iraq has spoken of the net requirements for American war planners to succeed in Afghanistan. It isn’t pretty, but we need an honest assessment of numbers and force posture.
Dr. Kagan reveals that physics and geography alone dictate the minimum numbers of troop deployment if the Americans are to have any chance of succeeding in the region. Either we cut and run or we deploy what’s needed to secure the gains we’ve established and held.
The minimum requirement would be 68,000 troops stationed in Jalalabad, Khost and Kandahar. This alone will provide the bare minimum requirement to encircle terrorists alongside the Durand Line in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Dr. Kagan admonishes the bed wetter class in Washington to recognize that we either stabilize the region alongside the Durand Line or we abandon the fight against al-Qaeda and its allies. Here’s how he arrived at this outlook.
The American presence throughout the region is constantly shifting. Principal terrorist concentrations throughout South Asia are in Pakistan’s federally administrated tribal areas, here is where al-Qaeda has sought safety, in the tribal cities of Konar and Nuristan Provinces. We can find and hit terror squads throughout this region if we maintain Predator Drones, use precision guided munitions or deploy special forces. Know that without bases in Afghanistan the first two options cannot happen because of the tyranny of distance. The requirement for accuracy and certainty rules out the last option. This means we either maintain a presence in Afghanistan or we lose. PERIOD. The distance from base to target is minimum 600 miles, meaning that Drone strikes are not used. Deploying Special Forces requires helicopters that can fly over similar distances, which we don’t have; the terrain isn’t advantageous either given the ubiquity of mountains. Precision guided munitions cannot be used because they don’t loiter over the target, they fly quickly over the terrain at high altitudes.
The leaves boots on the ground! Manning bases throughout Afghanistan obviates all the above noted problems. Note that Dr. Kagan’s troop requirement of 68,000 gives room for maneuver, for anything less than this minimum leaves our entire presence isolated. We need speed, intelligence and flexibility. Now, here’s the bad news. . .
Team Obama will not give the OK for this troop requirement. What will this mean? According to Dr. Kagan, we should expect failure if the above noted requirement isn’t met. The politics of defeat hasn’t yet been shaped from the success that American presence throughout the region has made since 2010.
The current defeatism is overdrawn and unfounded. We should prepare for American surrender if Kagan’s minimum isn’t met.
Reagan was right, we had Rabbits when we needed Lions.