Thursday 11 Aug 2022 | 05:31 | SYDNEY
Thursday 11 Aug 2022 | 05:31 | SYDNEY

Afghanistan: The Iraq temptation


Sam Roggeveen


27 March 2009 11:05

In a post about the financial crisis, American blogger Kevin Drum makes a point that is relevant to our recent discussion about Afghanistan:

"This time it's different" is probably the most dangerous phrase in the world. It's especially dangerous because every once in a while it's true. But not often.

That's exactly why this argument from Jim Molan's recent post has been nagging away at me:

Many of those who say we cannot win in Afghanistan also said that we could not win in Iraq. They were wrong that time but they may be right this time, though only if we keep doing everything wrong. This time, in all humility, we know so much more. The friction will occur as we try to adapt lessons and apply them in Afghanistan. If we intelligently apply the right techniques with an appropriate level of military and non-military resources over the right period of time, this war is winnable. [Emphasis mine.]

Jim may be right that we know a lot more about successful counter-insurgency now, but the question is whether we can ever know enough.