Saturday, April 21, 2012

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Much has been made of the Obama administration's stepped up drone strikes in the wild regions of Pakistan.  There is no doubt that killing al-Qaeda, Taliban and other enemy forces where ever they are found is a good thing.  Similarly the spectacular death of Osama Bin Laden was, well - spectacular, but his death nor the small scale bombing program carried out by drones represent strategic moves.  Over the long term they are effective on the tactical level only.  A strategic breakthrough will not come through commando raids or at discussions in Kabul and Islamabad.  Ground zero has always been the wild tribal regions where the enemy is allowed to hide, train and rearm before crossing the border back into Afghanistan.  Everyone tends to focus on COINs idea about protecting the population while forgetting another one - eliminate the enemy's safe havens.

The case of Iraq is more disturbing because President Obama may have made a tactical calculation that it was better for his reelection chances to not negotiate a new SOFA with Iragi leaders when the original one expired at the end of 2011.  The administration cannot argue it was a smart strategic move to pull U.S. forces out of an unstable country that we hope to have as a stable ally, but is coveted by our greatest enemy, Iran. The hard, expensive and bloody work was accomplished under the Bush administration and all that was required of the Obama administration was to maintain the successes - in other words to not let the nearly trillion dollars and more than 4,000 American lives be in vain.

No comments:

Post a Comment