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LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT THISYou have defeated the enemy when you've obtained his surrender.Defeat is defined by surrender of the other side.You can occupy part of the country of the enemy, control much of his resources, etc., and it doesn't matter.Until you've prevailed against him TO THE POINT that he can no longer resist and he surrenders to you than nothing is settled.In Afghanistan as well as Iraq the enemy was never defeated. The enemy never surrendered because they didn't have to - they were merely pushed aside a little.No one in the American government should have thought for a moment that the war wouldn't continue indefinitely. That they did so was pure wishful thinking on a colossal scale.
On the other hand....If the actual war aim wasn't to defeat the enemy but merely deny him control of the central governments in those countries....Then of course those aims were met.And I'm pretty sure that was the case.The poor American officers who thought they were there to defeat an enemy and transform those countries were not in on the game.The real game was to deny the resources of Iraq to the Ba'ath party, and the resources of Afghanistan to the Taliban.So long as those two movements did not have access to the wealth and resources of those countries then a protracted insurgency war was acceptable to the architects of those strategies.Whether those outcomes were in the interests of the United States, it's citizens who supposedly own it, or rather in the interests of the Israeli national security structure...Well you can make up your own minds.
Bolger is of course an objective and rational analyst and an honest public servant, whereas Patraeus and others are not.If I knew more about General Bolger I would consider offering my support of him for the Democratic Presidential nomination for the 2016 election.Honest men are hard to find.
I think Bolger is an Irish name, and the last time we had an Irish President he acted with particular courage against the national security establishment, and otherwise managed the government quite well.Another Irish American President would be welcome.