Lieutenant General Jim Dutton, deputy commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said plans to boost the Afghan army and police force and increase the number of foreign troops would turn things around.
"There are some causes for optimism. Things should get better, not worse, in 2009," he told reporters in Kabul.
Memo to Lt. General Dutton: As has been proven throughout the history of 2oth and 21st century warfare, that you cannot win what is essentially a ground war from the air.
A little 20th century conflict, called the Viet Nam War, should have alerted those who allegedly "planned" the Afghanistan military campaign, but that was obviously not the case.
Even with the so-called impending "surge" of troops, the US and NATO will have just a little over 10% of the number of forces needed to successfully occupy Afghanistan, paccording to the US's own military protocol, and that number is 500,000.
The rest of troop-contributing NATO countries have had leadership which at least pretends to listen to the sentiments of those people they govern, and the sentiments are loudly and clearly against this military misadventure. They will not send more troops; it is the US, where the leadership has no regard for the people they govern (except for squeezing more and more taxes from them) which will be supplying more troops.
Our options here are very limited. We can continue to bomb non-combatants, and create a further radicalization of those left standing against the Karzai government, or, at the end of the day, facilitate some kind of rapprochement between the Karzai government and the Taliban.
Of course, that would be logical, which means it has no chance to be explored as an alternative to further carnage.
I am afraid that I have to characterize Dutton's statement that "There are some causes for optimism." as a very deep, and unrealistic, indulgence in magical thinking.