Stay on of­fense un­til in­ter­nal Mideast re­form

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion -

“The next war in Afghanistan” (Com­ment & Anal­y­sis, Tues­day) states that polls sug­gest Amer­ica prefers to “wash its hands of Afghanistan.” In­stead, I would sug­gest that many years in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught Amer­i­cans, me in­cluded, that as these cul­tures are cur­rently con­sti­tuted, de­feat­ing the bad guys, in­sti­tut­ing demo­cratic struc­tures and in­vest­ing in in­fra­struc­ture is not enough to foster gen­uine democ­ra­cies.

In­tol­er­ance of in­tel­lec­tual free­dom, non-mus­lim re­li­gious faiths and other clans, along with a deeply in­grained cul­ture of cor­rup­tion, make it all but im­pos­si­ble to achieve the orig­i­nal mis­sion in Iraq and Afghanistan. There may be a Ge­orge Washington or a Thomas Jef­fer­son some­where in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I have yet to see any­thing close to this level of states­man­ship. More of­ten, our Iraqi, Afghan and Pak­istani al­lies dis­play du­plic­ity, greed and feck­less­ness. Un­til there are lead­ers will­ing to com­mit their lives and sa­cred honor to build­ing au­then­tic democ­ra­cies in these coun­tries, Amer­ica ought to fo­cus on high-tech in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing, rapid­strike forces, air power when needed and cy­ber­war­fare.

Whether these tac­tics will en­able us to achieve our strate­gic ob­jec­tives re­mains to be seen, but they will save many Amer­i­can lives and dras­ti­cally re­duce our “in­vest­ment” in these coun­tries. THOMAS M. DO­RAN Ply­mouth, Mich.

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