Is the Anbar-Afghanistan Transfer Really Dead?

by Joshua Foust on 11/3/2008

Christian certainly seems to think so. He quotes a wide array of top-level military officials, as well as Barrack Obama, as going on record expressing either skepticism or outright hostility to the idea—all of which are appropriate and good to hear (and in fairness to Mr. Ackerman, he’s done stellar work on this front, and deserves praise for asking the right questions).

I have to quibble with one thing, though. I’ve written about this idea not just thrice, but dozens of times—and well before the good Péter Marton did (see below). Not that that matters at all, but I think it’s important to note that a range of people—including more than the three of us (such as Bill Roggio)—were against the idea from the very start. It’s kind of surprising that the idea lasted so long in the face of near-universal opposition to it among Afghanistan watchers and experts, but sometimes it seems like even our biggest newspapers would rather have discredited think tankers dream of invading Pakistan rather than doing anything substantive.

p.s. I’m currently working on an article that disputes the Anbar-Afghanistan model and looks at alternatives. I hope I don’t have to fully scrap it at this point.

UPDATE: Péter Marton emails to let me know that the comment thread here doesn’t work. Apologies—I think I fixed it. He also noted something he wrote even before the time frame we’re discussing here. Does any of this matter? Again, probably not, just as it doesn’t matter which one of us really said it first. Trying to export Anbar is a bad idea, period. The important point is how many of us have been against it.

Still, many thanks to Péter for issuing the correction. I stand corrected.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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