Note the two simple words in General McChrystal's 66-page report military assessment of the Afghanistan war: "nation building".
This is an excerpt from today's Washington Post:
"...McChrystal said he thinks the way to meet the president's relatively narrow objective of denying al-Qaeda's return to Afghanistan involves a wide-ranging U.S. and NATO effort to protect civilians from insurgents by improving the Afghan government's effectiveness. That means not only more troops, but also a far more aggressive program to train Afghan security forces, promote good local governance, root out corruption, reform the justice sector, pursue narcotics traffickers, increase reconstruction activities and change the way U.S. troops interact with the Afghan population.
The implicit recommendation is that the United States and its NATO partners need to do more nation-building, and they need to do it quickly..."
You should know immediately this war is doomed if these two words are part of the necessary conditions to win it. Why this is so is straightforward.
You cannot change a nation by adding more troops unless the country you wish help had a democratic tradition by way CORE Values held broadly by the people and second by the way of INSTITUTIONS that embodied those values before trouble began.
Afghanistan before troubles started when the Taliban took over was a primitive, medieval run by tribes.
US leaders are still not learning history. You cannot change it into a country with values worth our lives to defend when it is not ready.
Bush lost it when he pulled his troops from Afghanistan to Iraq. Now to refight that battle to destroy Al Qaeda now helped by a resurgent Taliban is near impossible when Kabul is run by corrupt drug lords.
What Afghan is his or her right mind would help the US to keep those drug dealers as rulers of a "democratic" Afghanistan?