Maj. Fernando Lujan saw a bunch of tactical advancements during his tour in Afghanistan, and so he's sick of the rest of us fretting that after 10 years of war, it's not adding up to strategic success. Luckily, he's got a plan:
“Winning” is a meaningless word in this type of war, but something is happening in the Afghan south that gives me hope. Rather than resignation, America should show resolve — not to maintain a large troop presence or extend timelines, but to be smarter about the way we use our tapering resources to empower those Afghans willing to lead and serve.
Sorry. That's just gibberish. All we have to do is get better at backing the good Afghans? Well, why didn't anyone say something over the past ten years! Chances are, anyone who writes a recommendation of the form "We have to keep doing this thing that's failed, only get smarter at it so it doesn't fail" probably hasn't thought that recommendation through.
There's nothing in Lujan's op-ed about a peace process. Nothing about the very different and arguably more important fight in eastern Afghanistan. Nothing about the costs of war, the relative interests at stake, or the opportunity costs of ignoring other security issues during our Afghanistan preoccupation. There's not even any discussion of the words "terrorism" or "al-Qaeda" here.
He's right about one thing, though. We certainly do have to get smarter about the way we use our tapering resources.