Mark Moyar

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During Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates' recent trip to Afghanistan, the impact of Osama bin Laden's death on our future involvement in Afghanistan raised the most questions among American troops. Mr. Gates has been admirably firm in warning against acceleration of the American troop drawdown in light of bin Laden's demise. But the administration has yet to mount a rigorous defense of that position, which is why the troops remain puzzled.

It is time for the administration to articulate clearly the rationale for staying the course in Afghanistan. It is time to refute the unnamed government sources who are telling the press that bin Laden's death has devastated al Qaeda and demonstrated the infallibility of counterterrorism.…  Seguir leyendo »

UNTIL very recently, no one would have predicted that Barack Obama would be forcing foreign leaders from power with greater regularity than George W. Bush. The president maintains that the United States is not playing kingmaker, but is merely enabling people to choose their leaders. But history indicates that the president’s choice of a provisional leader may have a much greater impact on a country’s political future than the desires of its people.

Nowadays, the United States has great influence when it comes to selecting who rules between the collapse of an authoritarian regime and the holding of elections. American support put Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in charge of Egypt’s provisional government in February.…  Seguir leyendo »

During a recent trip to Afghanistan, I met with senior American and Afghan leaders to discuss the challenges of the present war. I found top coalition commanders are, for the first time, in agreement that the outcome will be decided primarily by local leaders, not by equipment or money or enlightened methods. The new head of the NATO training mission, Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, has made Afghan leadership quality his No. 1 priority. This mindset change is crucial.

It does not, however, ensure success, for determining what to do in counterinsurgency warfare is easier than doing it. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and others told me that one of the biggest obstacles is risk aversion within the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

As President Obama and his advisers planned their new approach to the Afghan war, the quality of Afghanistan’s security forces received unprecedented scrutiny, and rightly so. Far less attention, however, has been paid to the quality of American troops there. Of course, American forces don’t demand bribes from civilians at gunpoint or go absent for days, as Afghans have often done. But they face serious issues of their own, demanding prompt action.

The American corporals and privates who traverse the Afghan countryside today are not at issue. They risk life and limb every day, with little self-pity. Despite the strains of successive combat deployments, they keep re-enlisting at high rates.…  Seguir leyendo »