News From Two Fronts
Richards is acknowledging that insurgencies have the power to put the focus on military actions instead of reconstruction and democratization actions. In so doing, he underscores the need for social victory, which recasts how military victory should be pursued, making it much more difficult.
"If we collectively ... do not exploit this winter to start achieving concrete and visible improvement," then some 70 percent of Afghans could switch sides, Richards told The Associated Press.
Richards will command NATO's troops in Afghanistan, including 12,000 U.S. forces, until February, when U.S. Gen. Dan K. McNeil will take command.
The British general said he'd like to have about 2,500 additional troops to form a reserve battalion to help speed up reconstruction and development efforts.
The south of the country, where NATO troops have fought their most intense battles this year, has been "broadly stabilized," Richards said.
"We have created an opportunity," following the intense fighting that left over 500 militants dead in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, he said. "If we do not take advantage of this, then you can pour an additional 10,000 troops next year and we would not succeed because we would have lost by then the consent of the people."
Meanwhile, the Times of London reports this possible finding of James Baker's independent congressionals commission on Iraq:
AN independent commission set up by Congress with the approval of President George W Bush may recommend carving up Iraq into three highly autonomous regions, according to well informed sources.
The Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker, the former US secretary of state, is preparing to report after next month’s congressional elections amid signs that sectarian violence and attacks on coalition forces are spiralling out of control. The conflict is claiming the lives of 100 civilians a day and bombings have reached record levels.
The Baker commission has grown increasingly interested in the idea of splitting the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish regions of Iraq as the only alternative to what Baker calls “cutting and running” or “staying the course”.
The big question is whether the course we are staying now will lead to victory or not. Clearly, our enemy has adapted well to our current tactics. Reports from the milblogs make it just as clear that we are adapting our tactics while keeping our focus on our strategy of bringing up Iraqi military and police forces to the point where we can leave. But is it working well enough, quickly enough, to avoid a tipping point in Iraq.
The cut and run faction can't be allowed to take over this debate, because 20 years of studying and fighting the current Islamofascist conquest has shown that leaving will yield much bigger problems a few years down the road.
The only victory in this war remains as it always has been: a dual victory of military conquest of the jihad leadership and a social conquest of the repressive Islamic states. Acheiving that will require staying an adjusted course. If we can keep control of Congress and light an appropriate fire under our electeds, then perhaps staked claims, careers on the line, stubborness and incestuous amplification won't get in the way of identifying and making the needed adjustments.
If the party favored by Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore and Al Franken takes power, batten the hatches, and give up any hope that the people repressed by Islamic regimes will see freedom anytime soon.