"Afghanistan: It's Not Over" by LTG James Dubik (Ret.) (Small Wars Journal)
"In May, 2007 I deployed to Iraq to become the Commanding General responsible for accelerating the growth of the Iraqi Security Forces in size, capability, and confidence. Prior to deploying, I made a series of rounds in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. I was met with more condolences than congratulations. The general feeling, no pun intended, was that the war was lost and it was only a matter of time before we would admit our defeat and withdraw. I am getting the same “all is lost” attitude about Afghanistan from what I read and hear around the Washington, D.C. Beltway. We were too quick to declare defeat in Iraq then, and it’s too soon to declare it in Afghanistan now.
We are at a crossroad in Afghanistan, no doubt about that, but the future—success or failure—is not predestined. Our enemy may have a vote, but so do we. What we do, primarily in Afghanistan but based upon decisions in Washington and other Capitols, in the next 12 months will determine our future direction.
Afghanistan is not a “war of choice” as some have recently declared it. It is a war of necessity derived from our self defense. The choice has been how we execute the war that came to us with the 9/11 attacks.
Unfortunately, the war was characterized as a “Global War on Terror.” It was never that. The war that was thrust upon us is a war against Al Qaeda, their ideology, and their affiliates—one of whom had been, and may still be, the Afghan Taliban.
Our initial operations in Afghanistan did evict the Taliban and force Al Qaeda into Pakistan, did not finish the job. The eviction was temporary. By itself, it could not accomplish the strategic goal of self defense because inherent in eviction is the notion of prevention."