Questions for nation-builders

Author: Gary Hart

Questions and AnswersAs three new combat brigades embark, there are some questions to contemplate:

1.  After eight years of U.S. military protection, why have Afghan men not stepped up to protect their wives and children, their communities, and their nation?

2.  Will they decide to do so in the next eighteen months and, if so, why now?

3.  What exactly is the mission and where is it clearly spelled out?  What exactly are General McCrystal’s orders?

4.  What standards of democracy do we expect the Afghan government to meet, Jefferson’s or the Saudi royal family’s?

5.  What ethical standards do we expect the Afghanistan government to meet and how do they differ from the lobbying system in Washington?

6.  How is “victory” in Afghanistan defined now and will it be achieved by the summer of 2011?

7.  Why would an indigenous insurgency suddenly decide to engage in decisive battles instead of merely waiting until the occupying force leaves?

8.  Will the Pakistan government now decide to permit our combat forces to engage Afghan insurgents on a large scale on Pakistan territory?

9.  Will our NATO allies increase their troop levels and for what period of time?

10.  Are our Special Forces trained, equipped, and on stand-by to neutralize (destroy or remove) Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal?

America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” (John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, July 4, 1821.)  Except when those monsters attack our country and our fellow citizens.  They are the ones we should not have lost sight of.

5 Responses to “Questions for nation-builders”

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  4. Michael Califra Says:

    None of these excellent and fundamental questions have been answered. In fact, in his speech at West Point on Monday, the president said we are not in Afghanistan for the purpose of nation building. He said we are escalating our military commitment there in order to “seize the initiative” from the Taliban, whom he also said were not able to topple the Karzai government anyway. The whole speech was a non sequitur. We are about to increase our presence in that country for no logical reason (other than every Democratic president having to prove that he is not weak), when our continued occupation is a provocation to the entire Muslim world. This is exactly the kind of thing that created the threat that emanated from that country with such horrible consequences on 9/11. We certainly should not have lost sight of those monsters. But why are we so hell-bent on creating new ones?

  5. Gary Hart Says:

    Michael Califra highlights the limits of military power as the only measure of national strength. If we continue to permit one group to limit the definition of our strength to the amount of money we spend on the military and the willingness of political leaders to resort to military power as the first and only source of national purpose we will never realize the true potential of America–at home or around the world.

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