U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan: Five Lessons We Should Have Learned

Jul 19, 2012, 00:03 ET from American Security Project

The dangers of magical thinking and the need for politics, planning & strategy

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the American Security Project releases a paper that examines the war in Afghanistan to identify lessons policymakers need to learn from the conflict.

Much discussion of the war focuses on narrow issues like military doctrine or troop surges, but there are more fundamental lessons that need to be learned from the last ten years of war. U.S. policy has been hobbled by magical thinking, misunderstanding the country of Afghanistan, ignoring politics, poor planning, and a disturbing refusal to plan for the future.

Gary Hart, former senator and Chairman of the American Security Project, said: "Lessons learned from past mistakes must provide positive guidance under future circumstances."

Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.), CEO of the American Security Project said: "As the war in Afghanistan winds down it is vital we draw the correct lessons from the last ten years of combat."

He continued:  "The five lessons we discuss here are some of the most important ways the war has failed to live up to expectations. We have to understand them so we can avoid similar missteps in the future." 

Joshua Foust, ASP Fellow for Asymmetric Operations and author of the paper said: "The five lessons in this report will help establish a framework for understanding future asymmetric wars the U.S. will fight."

He continued: "These five lessons are not a list of everything that has ever gone wrong or right in Afghanistan. But they are issues that just aren't being discussed in the public debates about the war. They need to be."

You can find the report here

The American Security Project is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy and research organization dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges.

For more information, visit www.americansecurityproject.org.

SOURCE American Security Project