On the Afghan frontlines, soldiers are feeling the strain of General Petraeus’ counterinsurgency strategy as it has forced them to become nation-builders as well as warriors. Bing West argues that the American military’s three current objectives in Afghanistan – protect the population, provide money and projects to stimulate patriotism, and link the population with the central government – have weakened the warrior ethos of the troops and prevented the U.S. from developing a winning approach. With the imminent withdrawal of NATO troops by 2014 and Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s call to negotiate with the Taliban, is winning even possible for the Allied forces? Join The Chicago Council as Bing West discusses his perspective on a U.S. exit strategy and why Americans cannot afford to lose in Afghanistan.
I just bought Bing West’s The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan. So far it’s very good, if disconcerting. He will be giving a talk this Wednesday at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and I plan to attend. Bing West is appearing earlier the same day at the Chicago Pritzker Military Library (which has moved to 104 S. Michigan Ave., across the street from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago.)