“If general McChrystal [the US commander in Afghanistan, Ed.] gets his way – I understand he wants 45,000 extra troops – then the US will reach the level of the Russians at the peak of their deployment in the eighties: more than 100,000. You don’t want to go there. I’m not saying we need to leave suddenly and in a hurry. I’m thinking of something similar to what we’re now doing in Iraq, where we’re pulling out all the troops by the end of 2011. A phased withdrawal.”
He also wrecks the idea that we should run around the world occupying countries to deny terrorists safe havens.
“Take 9/11. Al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan did not play a big role in that operation. The real work – the planning by Khalid Sheik Mohammed – was done away from the camps. The preparations were made in apartments in Germany, hotel rooms in Spain and flight schools in the US. And don’t forget: if a group really needs a sanctuary it doesn’t have to depend on Afghanistan. We already know they are able to operate in Pakistan, and there is Somalia and Yemen too.”
Invasion and occupation was never the right response to terrorism.