Fareed Zakaria is warning that Afghanistan could be the next Iraq. He’s quite right, and in fact that’s almost certainly going to be the case.
Our enemies have learned the lessons of Iraq, and our fecklessness there shows that they have a winning strategy on our hands. Al-Qaeda isn’t bound by national borders, which is why Syria and Iran can tear Iraq apart unmolested in the same way that Pakistan is doing to Afghanistan. They know that US troops won’t violate an international border to go after them, so all they need to do is keep their logistical and command elements in another country, and they can cause as much havoc as they want.
Afghanistan is now seeing the increased use of suicide bombers and IEDs — all techniques designed to produce maximum carnage at little risk, and tested in Iraq.
The enemy knows that their victory in Iraq keeps growing closer. It’s becoming close to a fait accompli that we’ll pull out and hand them their greatest victory yet — the Democrats have been pushing for surrender for some time, and even the Republicans are wavering. President Bush remains steadfast in his position that we won’t pull out, but he’s becoming more and more politically isolated because of it. The al-Qaeda strategy in Iraq is, sadly, working. They know our weaknesses and they know that they can prey off of our own self-doubts and the spinelessness of our political and media classes to achieve the victory they could never achieve through force of arms.
Al-Qaeda now knows that the key to success is not to defeat the United States, but to let the United States defeat itself.
Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have already begun to apply those lessons to Afghanistan, and they have every reason to believe that they’ll be successful. Despite all the talk about how the Democrats support the war in Afghanistan, their fecklessness won’t merely be confined to the conflict in Iraq. Instead, as the violence ratchets up, the will to remain will decrease. The Taiban are already trying to take out the coalition partners in Afghanistan they way they did in Iraq, isolating the US and Great Britain. Once that’s done, all they require is a steady stream of casualties and plenty of carnage for the evening news. They know that the American media will gladly parrot their propaganda, and soon enough the US will leave Afghanistan to be torn apart.
Zakaria points out that we’re not putting the pressure we need to put on President Musharraf of Pakistan, our erstwhile ally. It seems that we simply don’t have the political capital or the political will to do so, and the risks are simply too great. Short of making sure that Pakistan no longer supports the Taliban in any way or violating Pakistani sovereignty to clean out areas like Waziristan, there’s little we can do to stop the flow of money and weapons to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Our enemy is learning from our failures, and they know our weaknesses well. It’s too bad that we’re likely to lose Iraq and Afghanistan, and then probably one of our own major cities before we wake up to the internal weakness that is hampering our efforts in this global war on Islamic terrorism.