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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2010 / 4 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771

Seeds of victory in Afghanistan

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Success in Afghanistan is beginning to come in the first muddy trickles after a long drought.

Small groups of Taliban fighters -- sometimes a dozen with a leader -- are approaching local Afghan government officials, asking what kind of deal they might get. "First, they want to be taken off any list, so they are not targeted," explains a NATO official in Afghanistan. "Second, they want protection from the insurgency. Third, some kind of economic opportunity."

In counterinsurgency doctrine, this is known as "reintegration." The official admits it is "spotty" in Afghanistan but spreading in all regions. "It is happening in small numbers -- drip, drip, drip. It has not yet changed the battle space. . . . It is not a tipping point, at this point." The goal is to push these numbers much higher, with more insurgents driven to negotiation and exhaustion, so they "put down their weapons and go home."

Many Americans ask: What would victory look like in Afghanistan? It would look like this -- except more of it.

Eighteen months ago, Afghan insurgents had the morale that comes from momentum. But the surge in NATO operations, particularly Special Operations, has started to change the psychological battlefield. Special Forces now go after eight to 10 major objectives each night -- perhaps three-quarters of these raids result in the death or capture of an insurgent leader. Two Taliban shadow governors -- a key position in the leadership structure -- were killed in the last week. Such roles are quickly refilled, but replacements tend to be less seasoned and more frightened.

"We hear a lot of chatter," says the official, "from networks inside of Afghanistan." Some fighters don't feel "a moment of peace. They can't sleep. They keep moving all the time. They can't plan attacks because they are planning to survive." And this is opening up a "real rift" with Taliban "bosses leading from the relative comfort of Pakistan." While some units are well supplied, others are "not supplied, not paid, but told to keep fighting."

Reintegration of low- and mid-level fighters is based on their concern for survival. Reconciliation between the Afghan government and higher-level Taliban leaders is a political matter, gaining much recent attention. President Hamid Karzai has convened a "high peace council," open to Taliban overtures but insisting on certain conditions: repudiating al-Qaeda, laying down arms, accepting the Afghan constitution. The most ideological of Taliban leaders will never reconcile. Others may calculate, as many Sunni leaders eventually did in Iraq, that their rejectionism is undermining their long-term political influence.

In a national settlement, some kind of power-sharing arrangement is probably inevitable. But sharing power in a united government is very different from the concession of Taliban control over any portion of Afghanistan's territory. This would incite ethnic conflict and re-create the conditions that led to the Sept. 11 attacks. It is the definition of American defeat.

Political reconciliation is the objective. But it is conceivable only if momentum toward reintegration continues and gathers -- and this, in large part, is a military task. Many have argued that an acceptable outcome in Afghanistan will not be achieved by military force alone. True. But an acceptable outcome is enabled by military pressure.

That pressure is being undermined by a Taliban argument. President Obama's July 2011 deadline for the beginning of American troop withdrawals from Afghanistan is being used, according to the NATO official, as "an opportunity for propaganda."

"They are trying to convince Afghans that we are out in July. They are saying we will be gone, telling people, 'We will remember our friends, and remember our enemies.' " There are two ways to combat this claim. The first is to build up the Afghan army and police, so that an eventual American drawdown will not leave a void. "This is one area," says my source, "where the enemy has misjudged. They said that our training goals for the army and police were too ambitious. But we are meeting our growth numbers, and the quality of the force is taking off." The task remains "very challenging," but, with enough partnership and patience, it is achievable.

The second response is to make clear that America is not abandoning Afghanistan in July. The message should be, according to the official, "As conditions exist, there will be a responsible drawdown."

It is America's commander in chief who has created a destructive ambiguity on this point. And only he can remove it.


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Previously:



10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


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