Call it nation-building, call it counterinsurgency, the neocon way of war is based on the antihistorical idea that the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are capable of resolution within those nations' borders. It willfully ignores the conclusive influence that the intervention of foreign terror-sponsoring nations has.
...In Loose Canons on April 30, 2002 I wrote that Bush's thinking had become dangerously confused. On September 4, 2002, I wrote that even if we dealt with the terrorist threats in Afghanistan and Iraq, the war would not be over until we ended -- forcibly or otherwise -- nations' sponsorship of terrorism. And, on March 20, 2006, in a Loose Canons piece entitled "Endgame Conservatives," I explained comprehensively the problem with the neocons' war plan, that it placed us on the strategic defensive and precluded victory.
I explained that nation-building is not "neoconservatism" but actually "neo-Wilsonianism." That it is, at its core, a colonialist strategy bound to fail anywhere, not just in the Muslim world. That if you do not fight a war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, you will lose it inevitably.That last line should recall the LBJ FAIL in VietNam--until the generals finally managed to wrest control of the war from LBJ and McNamara and fight to win.
Back to Afghanistan. Babbin cites 'the book' on counter-insurgency to make the case that such tactics cannot win in Afghanistan, mostly because the Karzai Government is utterly corrupt, top to bottom. (Independent individuals will say the same thing--and that the population PREFERS Shari'a law precisely because Karzai is simply not desirable.)
...The Karzai government offers no cause that can seriously compete. Vague promises of democracy and economic development -- made by an unpopular government seeking to bring the "good Taliban" into the fold -- cannot compete with the undiluted Islamic fundamentalism the Taliban offer.
There is a US analogy: Prohibition. It was clear from Day One that Prohibition would not succeed. No "counter-insurgency" would have enough traction for long enough to ram Prohibition down the throats (so to speak) of the US public.
Anyhoo, Babbin identifies Iran and Syria as the principal sources of support for the Taliban, although there are others.
If Obama wants to win?
Iran and Syria should be told, only once, that their dedication to terrorism is intolerable and that if they do not cease immediately (and of course, they won't) they will suffer undefined consequences. There should first be a declaration of war and then those undefined consequences should begin, delivered at night by the vast variety of stealthy weapon systems we have (and can build).
Then get out of both Iraq and Afghanistan.