Michael Yon just emailed the following:
Afghanistan is in a sad state. Some folks are worried about “disturbing trends” in Afghanistan. I was concerned about disturbing trends back in early 2006. But that concern is over. My concern is more grave; that we will completely lose the war if we set expectations too high. We should downgrade our expectations for Afghanistan, and what we are willing to invest there. The world is a big place and there are other problems at hand. Iran just launched a satellite to orbit, for example. Afghanistan is such a sorry place that it will require at least decades severe effort to become half-way presentable, and likely a century to bring to anything respectable.
In Iraq, the light at the end of the tunnel was always bright (except during the civil war), and now Iraq is already out of the tunnel and blinking in the light of a new day. But Afghanistan is a national Humpty Dumpty. The best I see is the very distant, very dim, twinkling of a star. Or maybe it’s just a phosphene and not a star at all. My humble recommendation is to downgrade all expectations for Afghanistan. Treat the patient as best we can, and concern ourselves with more important matters while striving not to allow Afghanistan to again become a launching pad for international terror. President Obama should not stake our national reputation on the idea that we will achieve our current more ambitious goals. Decrease expectations, and work on more important matters such as the world economy and other more serious military threats. Afghanistan is not worth so much effort when most of NATO has no heart and is virtually worthless. Eventually we’ll likely end up alone, or mostly alone, holding the bag, while Europe goes home to its wine and beer.
Please read: “Afghanistan is a Gaunt, Thorny Bush.”