Evidence that militarism cannot defeat the likes of insurgencies and Al Qaeda is demonstrated by events in Iraq and Afghanistan. In neither place has more than seven years of American military occupation done more than incensed the civilian population and killed hundreds of thousands of people. Indeed, dependence on air power in Afghanistan is contributing to growing opposition to the military presence. Bombing "accidents" are responsible for more opposition to the United States. Even intentional bombings like the recent attack on a madras in Pakistan are a source of opposition to the United States.
Ten-years of Russian occupation during the 1980s in Afghanistan resulted in failure in large measure because the military came up against the tight cultural realities of intergenerational defenses among the Pashtun and other peoples in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The US is faced now with exactly the same reality.
Presidential frontrunner Barack Obama proclaims himself in favor of transferring two divisions from the US military in Iraq to Afghanistan to shore up the weakened capacities of NATO forces fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban forces. This is a mistake and he should not promote this policy. The military response, as I have said, is a failed policy.
Obama's United States government must practice social, economic, cultural and counter-insurgency organizing aimed at undermining violent bigotry. Remove the military from active forward influence in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Remove the target so valued by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Work with the tribal populations to release them from the hold of violent bigotry. By so doing support for the relatively small number of fighters set against the US forces will evaporate in time. Patience and consistency is necessary...not more violence.
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