This section features work authored by Frederick W. Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project, and Kimberly Kagan, president of the Institute for the Study of War, on the conflict in Iraq.
IN THIS SECTION
Sequestration has done material harm to America’s national security at a dangerous moment. The United States is putting itself, its allies, and the world order that serves America so well at great risk in a fit of absentmindedness. It is past time to start paying attention again to the consequences of this policy on our security.
Announcing a minimal post-2014 military presence will make any sensible counterterrorism strategy impossible. It would repeat the mistake made after the Soviet withdrawal of imagining that Afghanistan no longer mattered to American security.
President Obama’s decision to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the course of the next year is unwise.
Eighteen days of protests in Egypt in 2011 electrified the world. But more than twice that many days of protest in Iraq have gone almost unnoticed in the United States.
Senator Paul’s most important intellectual error lies precisely in his notion of side effects. Inactivity, too, has side effects, and those must be weighed as seriously as the side effects of proposed actions.
Terrorist attacks in Algeria and French military operations in Mali have raised questions about the impact of ongoing unrest in West Africa on the United States.
This report describes how to calculate the force requirements for keeping one single base in Afghanistan after 2014. It concludes that no fewer than 6,000 troops would be needed to keep one base reasonably safe and functional in Afghanistan. The notion of keeping only 3,000 troops is militarily infeasible.
Keeping only a few thousand troops in Afghanistan after 2014 will make counter-terrorism operations impossible.
Administration officials are already leaking that the U.S. presence will be smaller than that requested by Gen. John Allen. Leaving a bare-bones U.S. presence will risk a return of the Taliban-- civil war.