Diana West

Barack Obama is sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, to come home again starting in 2011.

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Madness.

Worse is the conservative reaction. The futility of "nation-building" in the Islamic world lost on the poor infidels, they deem the president's plan correct even if undermined by the exit date.

This means the leftist White House and the conservative opposition have signed the same suicide pact to sink this country ever deeper into the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

For no achievable thing.

Not that our military, unleashed, couldn't achieve whatever it wanted. Four years to roll back Nazi-occupied Europe, but eight years and counting to roll back Taliban-occupied bedrock? Today's military, of course, is and will continue to be tightly leashed, bound by criminally restrictive rules of engagement and strategies to serve an unproven theory of "counterinsurgency," a demeaning campaign to make 20-plus million Afghans like us more than jihad-happy Taliban drug-thugs, no matter what it takes in terms of billions of dollars and the blood of our bravest.

But this isn't a conventional war, critics say. There's no comparison between World War II and today.

You can say that again.

But why isn't there? Why couldn't there be? Or, to turn the question around, what if World War II had been fought as a counterinsurgency?

What if, instead of waging total war on the Axis powers -- firebombing and nuking German and Japanese cities and, in the process, killing tens of thousands of Germans and Japanese -- the Allies had tried something a little more postmodern? What if they had tried instead to win "Kraut" hearts and "Jap" minds?

What if Gen. Eisenhower, like Gen. McChrystal today in Afghanistan, had wandered through German towns, asking das volk, "What do you need?" What if Gen. MacArthur, like Gen. McChrystal today, had emphasized Japanese population protection over U.S. force protection, ordering troops to guard "the people" from everything that could hurt them? What if U.S. forces had bought and paid for a Sunni-style "Nazi awakening"? What if Gens. Patton and MacArthur had rewritten constitutions to enshrine Nazism in Germany and Shintoism in Japan? What if the United States remained to protect the new governments from "extremists" who, as President Obama said this week, "distorted and defiled," respectively, their ideology and religion?

The East Coast would be speaking German, and the West Coast would be speaking Japanese.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).