- 1-IRAQ "...history will conclude our actions in Iraq were justified to assure a level of stability in a country that has a large percentage of the world's oil. The Iraq War was necessary for the stability and progress of the world's economy and for something like peace in a historically turbulent region."
- 2-AFGHANISTAN "... Given the terrain, population and history of Afghanistan, there is nothing to be gained by adding more US blood to that already left by the British in the 1800's and the Russians more recently."
- 3-IRAN "... if Iran continues to build its nuclear weapons program, the US and our allies will have to take military action of some sort. That country has a large percentage of the world's supply of oil and it is therefore important to keep it stable and peaceful."
Now, in 2012, over two years and too many American and allied lives later, I think my reasoning has been validated. As I will show by quoting from my earlier postings, I opposed the Gen. McChrystal (Obama) surge in Afghanistan as strongly as I supported the Gen. Petraus (Bush) surge in Iraq. The Afghan surge, as we should now realize, was doomed to failure because our interests there are tactical and not strategic. Our interests in Iraq are the exact opposite. OIL in Iraq and the absence of OIL or any other strategic material in Afghanistan explains both situations.
It is now beyond time to put Afghanistan on "simmer", protecting a few major population areas with a minimum number of boots on the ground, and continuing to use drones and Special Ops to suppress any Taliban or Al Queda training camps and command centers as well as interrupt supplies to them and protect supplies to the Afghan government. This will minimize our cost in blood and treasure while keeping our enemies from taking control of Afghanistan. It will also protect our interests in keeping Pakistan relatively cooperative.
SOME DIRECT, UNEDITED QUOTES FROM MY 2009 POSTING
Afghanistan Has No OIL
"Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan" (OEF-A) is the official name for our military action in Afghanistan. (The original name was "Operation Infinite Justice" which offended those who believe the source of "infinite justice" is God.)
According to Wikipedia, "The initial military objectives of OEF-A, as articulated by Former President George W. Bush in his Sept. 20th  Address to a Joint Session of Congress and his Oct. 7th  address to the country, included the destruction of terrorist training camps and infrastructure within Afghanistan, the capture of al Queda leaders, and the cessation of terrorist activities in Afghanistan." Multi-national military action began in 2002, just a year after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US mainland.
The Bush administration has been criticized for emphasizing military action in Iraq, which had little or nothing to do with 9/11, rather than in Afghanistan where the Taliban allowed Al Queda to train the terrorists responsible for 9/11. The Obama administration is now being asked by the commander, Gen. McChrystal, to deploy tens of thousands of additional troops there and repeat an Afghan version of Gen. Petraeus's Iraq surge. As in Iraq, the generals say we need US "boots on the ground" to gain and hold territory.
After much reading and consideration, I have come to the conclusion the US should not greatly increase troop strength now. We should revert to the previous Bush administration policy of a "light footprint" that defends key population centers and uses mainly airborne strikes to prevent the Taliban and whatever remnants of Al Queda remain in Afghanistan from making too much progress. Given the terrain, population and history of Afghanistan, there is nothing to be gained by adding more US blood to that already left by the British in the 1800's and the Russians more recently.
I think history will eventually recognize that the Bush strategy of a relatively low-level war in Afghanistan, where our allies took a large percentage of the responsibility, was correct. Those of you who have played chess know it is sometimes safer to hold back and exercise force from a distance, using your Rooks, Bishops and the Queen on clear diagonals and columns, rather than commit your pawns and Knights to a "boots on the ground" attack.
Iraq, a strategic source of oil, required both boots on the ground and airpower. Afghanistan, especially now that we have unmanned air vehicles capable of pinpoint attacks, should be addressed mostly with remote airpower. I believe VP Biden has been advocating a position similar to mine and that Obama will eventually accept that policy.
Sadly, President Obama did not adopt the "light footprint" with "remote airpower" policy followed by President Bush in Afghanistan, reportedly urged by VP Biden (and me). Instead, he ordered the McChrystal surge, but coupled it with a confused and contrary policy of a date-certain pullout, both with (IMHO) an eye on the 2012 Presidential race rather than the best strategic interests of the USA.
Lots of OIL in IRAN
I hope it does not come down to it, but, if Iran continues to build its nuclear weapons program, the US and our allies will have to take military action of some sort. That country has a large percentage of the world's supply of oil and it is therefore important to keep it stable and peaceful.
But, Iran is not Iraq. There is a considerable level of well-organized internal opposition to the current leadership and the Ayatollahs are not crazy. Perhaps we can persuade the Iranians to take a more reasonable approach. With the cooperation of the Russians and French, Iran can have a peaceful nuclear power program and we can have guarantees it is not directed at nuclear weapons.
Sadly again, President Obama has wasted the first three years of his term with weak leadership of our alliances with Western Europe and Israel and half-hearted sanctions and threats against Iran. He has given no significant support to the internal opposition to the current political and religious leadership in Iran. In the end, this may lead Israel to act in its own defense against what they perceive as an existential threat to their very survival.
PS: There are some 26 Comments at the end of my No OIL in Afghanistan thread, mainly a lively discussion between Howard Pattee and myself. I think that conversation is worth reading now.