As Gen. McChrystal calls for an increase of troops to Afghanistan in order to see "victory" (although I'm still waiting to hear what constitutes a victory) the Sunday Express, a conservative paper in the UK, says the war has already been lost:
In case anyone hadn’t noticed, there is a war on. And when this nation is at war it has a tradition of pulling together in support of the troops. But as far as the campaign in Afghanistan is concerned there is precious little sign of that. The death toll of British troops there this week is horrendous.
And yet the Government has been put under almost no pressure to explain what our soldiers are doing and when it expects their mission to be completed.
Gordon Brown does not appear to know whether this war is worth prosecuting with the full might of the nation’s military resources or not. He has already turned down a request from Barack Obama to send significant reinforcements, while the shameful inadequacy of the equipment supplied to our soldiers has already been well documented. After the losses of the past few days, this half-hearted approach has become utterly unsustainable. Britain and indeed the whole of Nato must now decide whether this fiendishly difficult bid to tame a hitherto untamable land is worth all the blood that is being spilt.
This newspaper’s assessment is that the chance of outright victory in Afghanistan vanished the moment US and British forces went into Iraq. The focus on Afghanistan was lost and the coalition against terror broke up. There is now little prospect of the rest of Nato committing wholeheartedly to the fight against the Taliban. In a war of attrition, such as is presently being fought, victory will not be achieved, but heavy losses will certainly be sustained. Our brave soldiers deserve far better than that.
Wow...some honest assessment. Of course, it's not coming from our country, where we still hang on these nebulous phrases like "victory" and "security" without actually explaining what that means. Cernig at Newshoggers:
It was always the conservative establishment who were most against Britain's continued enmiring in Bush's Iraq occupation - and now it appears that conservatives will lead the way in calling for an exit from Afghanistan too. There's certainly a part of that which is just the cynical politics of opposition, but there's also a part that's just good sense. The British populace are, if anything, more generally accepting of foreign wars than their American cousins but there's a limit to what even the "fighting Blitz spirit" will countenance when a military entanglement has no plan, no metrics for success and no end in sight. The Tories are just getting out ahead of the curve.
Update: As Gordon Brown defends the UK's involvement and insists the Afghan war is being won (the credibility of that claim being dependent on how credible you think Brown is in general), renowned British military historian Correlli Barnett has an op-ed in the pages of the very conservative Daily Mail in which he argues that Britain must unilaterally withdraw from Afghanistan.
Why won't an American journalist confront the Obama administration and simply ask them, "How will we know when we've won?" Unless they can answer that in tangible terms, all we're doing is condemning more troops to death.