…by Meg White
The place Meg puts the stuff she wrote
Four-Star General Calls for Patience on Afghanistan: “This is a 25 year campaign”
Categories: International, News

by Meg White

The front page of The New York Times today featured a report that on July 22, the “official” death toll of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan reached 500.

Retired four-star Army General Barry R. McCaffrey was in Afghanistan that day.  He was there compiling information for a report given to the head of West Point’s department of social sciences and first revealed in Small Wars Journal.  The report is a frightening one and, due to its implications, perhaps even sadder than the two-page spread of photographs of service members killed in Afghanistan in The New York Times today.

Here are some of the shocking points McCaffrey makes in his report about Afghanistan:

  • 68 percent of the population has never known peace
  • Life expectancy is 44 years
  • One of six pregnant Afghan women dies for each live birth, the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world
  • 40 percent unemployment rate
  • 41 percent of the population lives in “extreme poverty”
  • 12 percent inflation
  • Terrorist incidents and insurgent violence have risen 34 percent this year
  • Battle action and casualties are now much higher in Afghanistan for U.S. forces than they are in Iraq
  • Many U.S. troops in Afghanistan are on their fourth or more combat deployment since 9/11
  • The security situation, the economy, and Afghan governance are all likely to get worse in the coming 24 months

According to McCaffrey, the problem is political:

“The Afghan government at provincial and district level is largely dysfunctional and corrupt… Without more effective and non-corrupt Afghan political leadership at province and district level, Afghanistan may become a failed state hosting foreign terrorist communities with global ambitions. Afghan political elites are focused more on the struggle for power than governance.”

But it is also military:

“There is no unity of command in Afghanistan. A sensible coordination of all political and military elements of the Afghan theater of operations does not exist. There is no single military headquarters tactically commanding all U.S. forces.”

More troops won’t solve the problem:

“The atmosphere of terror cannot be countered by relying mainly on military means… Afghanistan will not be solved by the addition of two or three more U.S. combat brigades from our rapidly unraveling Army.”

But perhaps the most shocking and discouraging words in the whole report are these:

“This is a 25 year campaign. We must be patient in our expectations.”


Originally published at BuzzFlash.com.

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