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George Will Calls for U.S. Troop Pullout in Afghanistan

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

George Will Calls for U.S. Troop Pullout in Afghanistan

Article excerpt

George Will, the longtime syndicated columnist and TV pundit, has rarely been accused of being a "dove" but in a new column published Tuesday he calls for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Will would have any U.S. attacks come from off shore and via drones and other methods that don't involve U.S. ground troops.

An excerpt follows.*U.S. strategy -- protecting the population -- is increasingly troop-intensive while Americans are increasingly impatient about "deteriorating" (says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) conditions. The war already is nearly 50 percent longer than the combined U.S. involvements in two world wars, and NATO assistance is reluctant and often risible.

U.S. strategy is "clear, hold and build." Clear? Taliban forces can evaporate and then return, confident that U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains. Hence nation-building would be impossible even if we knew how, and even if Afghanistan were not the second-worst place to try: The Brookings Institution ranks Somalia as the only nation with a weaker state.

Military historian Max Hastings says Kabul controls only about a third of the country -- "control" is an elastic concept -- and " 'our' Afghans may prove no more viable than were 'our' Vietnamese, the Saigon regime. …

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