We often hear from the left how Bush bungled the war in Iraq. We failed to consult with our allies, we didn't get the U.N.. to explicity endorse our invasion, our arab allies remained opposed to the war, world public opinion was against us, America sqaundered the good will she had painfully won after the 9/11 attacks. In short the left is making the case that this is the worst example of American unilateralism in recent memory. And after 3 years and 3000 dead Americans we are still there.
Now let's take a look at Afganistan: In Dec 2000 the Security Council passed a resolution demanding that the Taliban deport Bin Laden to stand trial for the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa.
After the attacks of 9/11 America had the support of virtually the entire world in its goal of punishing Bin Laden as well as putting an end to the terrorist training camps in Afganistan. We enlisted the help of Britain and invaded Afganistan in Dec 2001. We consulted with our allies many of whom sent either troops or support personnel or material assistance to our war effort including the countries of Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Australia, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Although the Security Council was not asked to vote on prosecuting a war in Afganistan they neverthelss provided assistance in the form of humanitarian aid and helped the various Afgani factions come to an agreement about a post-Taliban government. "In the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan following the 11 September terrorist attack on the United States by the Afghan-based Al Qaeda group, the Security Council expressed support for the efforts of the Afghan people to replace the Taliban regime, once again condemned for allowing Afghanistan to be used as a base for the export of terrorism and for providing safe haven to Usama bin Laden.
In short to the same extent that the war in Iraq was a "bad" example of American unilateralism, the war in Afganistan was just the opposite: an excellent example of American multilateralism in which we consulted with the U.N and our NATO allies and rallied world and American public opinion to our side.
So where are we now 5 years after the invasion of Afganistan and the overthrow of the Taliban?
We are still fighting remnants of Al-Queda and a resurgent Taliban 5 years later.
approach has not gotten us one step closer to winning the war in Afganistan than our unilateral
actions have in Iraq.
What this tells me is that we are fighting a very cunning and determined enemy. That NATO is fighting alongside us in Afganistan, that we have, if not world public opinion on our side, at least a degree of understanding of our mission, that we have tacit U.N. approval of our actions and, yet, we are still unable to bring this war to a successful conlusion
This puts our struggle in Iraq into a different perspective. No longer can it be claimed that America's unilateral actions in Iraq have hindered our ability to prosecute that war to a successful conclusion. No longer can Bush be blamed for failing to win that war as we (and our NATO allies) are still fighting a war for control of Afganistan 5 years after its invasion and a full 2 years before we even set foot in Iraq.
As Israel learned during its recent incursion into Lebanon this is a very different enemy. We had better be prepared for a long and costly struggle with many civilian casaulties. Now is not the time to give up and hand the Islamic fanatics a victory. It requires lots of patience as this is going to be a long and bloody war.