The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Rational debate on Afghanistan

There is a lot of noise on Afghanistan these days and not much of it seems balanced or reasoned. Jim Molan's article in the Australian Herald Sun at least asks some rational questions and attempts to encourage a reasoned debate.

When the article appeared last week I thought the notion that more troops would be requested was rather unlikely... and yet that is precisely what has happened this week as ISAF push hard to fill the strategic shortfall of international trainers for the Afghan National Security Forces.

However, the real value of this article lies not in the potential solutions Molan hints at but in his call for proper debate based on assessment of facts, as opposed to knee-jerk 'ideologically prejudiced' reactions which fail to consider the situation as it is and the options available to us.
"If there were to be a debate, then it needs to preceded by an open assessment of where the war is now, where the war is likely to go, and what Australia could do that might be of value... Any debate must primarily address what we should actually and physically do."
The article is specific to Australia but the principle can and should be applied to every ISAF nation individually and the international community collectively.
"There are now 21 very good reasons for re-examining what we are doing, what we should be doing and what we could achieve in Afghanistan."
In other words, that is no less than the fallen deserve.

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