Winning the Battle, Losing the War

(Huffington Post) David Wood - Every few days, the headquarters of the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State militias issues a communique on how the war is going, listing the number of coalition air attacks and targets. The attacks are framed as progress, but we know from 13 years of painful experience in Iraq and Afghanistan that accounts of combat strikes don't necessarily reflect a war that's being won. "Winning" doesn't mean a continuous stream of air strikes, but building outposts of stability. It requires helping nations to build their economy, government and civil society to enable them to stand independently against the tide of radical, ruthless Islam. In short, the hard-won American battlefield victories and costly air strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and perhaps elsewhere may count for little if those gains are not consolidated off the battlefield. The writer, a journalist since 1970, is the senior military correspondent for the Huffington Post. His series on severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

2015-01-15 00:00:00

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