June 20, 2014

Obama repeats his Iraq mistake in Afghanistan

By Vance Serchuk

As the Obama administration grapples with how to respond to the terrorist takeover of northern Iraq, one consequence of the crisis should be clear: There is an urgent need to reassess the White House’s recently announced plans for Afghanistan — specifically, its pledge that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn by the end of 2016, other than a small contingent attached to our embassy in Kabul.

Of course, Afghanistan is not Iraq; there are key differences between the two countries. But there are also parallels and lessons from America’s experience in both wars that we ignore at our peril.

As with Iraq three years ago, the White House has justified the proposed Afghan pullout as “ending” one of the wars it inherited. But as in Iraq, the planned exit will do no such thing; rather, if carried forward, the complete departure of U.S. forces threatens to set the stage for the unraveling of everything our military has fought and sacrificed to achieve in Afghanistan, just as we now confront in Iraq

In particular, the Obama administration’s plan for Afghanistan significantly raises the risk that al-Qaeda and its affiliates will be able to regenerate in the region where the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were plotted, with dangerous implications for the security of the United States and its allies.

Read the full piece at The Washington Post

  • Commentary
    • POLITICO Magazine
    • May 12, 2020
    What Afghanistan Can Teach Us About Fighting Coronavirus

    As worried Americans look for answers in the midst of a global pandemic, it is no surprise that many have turned to the symbols and language of war. Public officials from Gove...

    By Pat A. Basu & Dr. Jason Dempsey

  • Podcast
    • April 24, 2020
    Walk Away from the Taliban, Not Afghanistan

    General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Retired) and Vance Serchuk speak with ISW Founder and President Dr. Kimberly Kagan on the dangers of the U.S. deal with the Taliban. Liste...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • April 1, 2020
    Can America Trust the Taliban to Prevent Another 9/11?

    For nearly 20 years, the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan has been sustained by a single, vital national interest: the clear and present danger of another September 11–like at...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

  • Commentary
    • The Washington Post
    • March 19, 2020
    9/11 swallowed U.S. foreign policy. Don’t let the coronavirus do the same thing.

    For two decades, American foreign policy has been shaped by the 9/11 attacks. The catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our failure to see the full threat posed by Russia...

    By Ilan Goldenberg

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia