Stay on offense until internal Mideast reform
“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.