Sunday, September 11, 2005

two nytimes articles

Lost at Tora Bora: How the Taliban leadership managed to escape Tora Bora, and why some people are reluctant to kill or capture him. Taking Stock of the Forever War: This one is very depressing. In short, things are going badly for the United States.
  • Osama bin Laden succeeded in provoking the United States attack a Muslim country and get mired down in an unwinnable war (though not the country he was hoping for — Afghanistan).
  • Al Qaeda tactics have worked to (further) isolate the United States in Iraq by making NGOs and other coalition members withdraw their forces or not deploy them in the first place.
  • L Paul Bremer and his policy makers screwed up big-time by alienating the Sunnis (disbanding the Iraqi army, firing Ba'ath party members, not being up front and honest about Iraq's problems).
  • By early 2006, almost every active American combat unit will have been deployed in Iraq twice.
  • The National Guard and Reserves make up 40% of the forces in Iraq, and the Guard is on its way to a meltdown.
  • The Taliban operate openly in parts of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, and are not going to go away anytime soon.
  • The core of the Al Qaeda leadership may be killed or captured, but they no longer need training camps and a willing host government; amateurs all over the place are willing to watch their videos, etc. and learn how to make and explode bombs).
I'm guessing the withdrawal of troops will be a major issue in the 2006 elections. If there's another front in the "war", the draft will be an issue in 2008.

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