He became fully committed to fight this war, as soon as he referred ot it as a "war of necessity", Now he has to deliver. He has drawn a circle around this by setting a time-table to deliver the troops ( 6 months) and win this war (1911).He is courting failure on both counts. Logistically, it will be nearly impossible to fulfill the first....the Marines can get there in time but the Army will not. As for the second, to withdraw successfully, that is even more difficult. The Taliban and al Qaeda do not fight conventionally. Their's is a querilla warfare...hit and move....hit and disappear across the border with Palistan. They will not stand and fight, they will lie low and select their target carefully. More and more their target will be those Afghanis who work with ISAF.... the International Security Assistance Force.......civilian, police, military.
The Americans who now have about 100,000 troops there has to do a few things that are necessary for success. Firstly, they have to change tactics and localised the war. Kandahar and to a lesser extent, Helmand are the keys, and this where they have to concentrate their efforts. Reach out to the warlords. Bring them on board, by paying them off. This will be difficult because they control the very lucrative drug trade. Production has gone up from 500 tons in the mid-80s to 6,900 tons this year, and farmers are paid $250 a kilo compared to $28 in 2008( Matthieu Aikins in Dec. 2009, Harpers). Two tribes, the Achakai and the Noorzai control the trade and the smuggling. If they don't want to "play ball", then you can play one against the other, but that will mean, the winer will have to be allowed to take control of the trade ( the wisdom of Soloman ?).
Next , the population must be convinced that the Americans are there to help them and that they will not abandon them as they did in 1989. Hospitals, schools, roads, water, electricity and jobs are the key.The Taliban will target the infra-structure and will remind the people of 1989. Trust must be built up.....Obama has to go to Afghanistan and speak to the people directly.
The Karzai government is corrupt. His government is not trusted. He has to create a grand coalition and include the Tajiks, The Uzbeks and the Hazarra, as well as disaffected Pashtuns. Obama has "to lay down the law", and Karzai must be held accountable and on a short leash. This will not be easy, because Karzai must not be seen as merely an American "poodle". This will need the deft hands of a professional diplomat....
Pakistan is an important player. Their military has finally decided to take the fight to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Their continued effort is necessary to seal the border as much as they can and to make sure that the safe havens are no longer safe. Military and economic aid must continue to flow to Pakistan, but bit must be monitored to ensure that it is not stolen and/or spent on Pakistan's war with India, or taken over by the notorious ISI, for its "pet projects".
If all of this can be done successfully, then Obama's "war of necessity".....this gamble, which the American public is very skeptical about, can be won.
Obama love words. He must understand that these words have consequences......they can free or imprison. They can beconstructive or destructive. They can energise or deflate. Above all they can build or destroy. So far he has used
uplifting words to sell his vision. Hopefully, he has not built a trap for himself.