Friday, September 18, 2009

Demographics against NATO in Afghanistan War

Surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed today describing the futility of the war in Afghanistan. It seems to be the European edition, which could explain things. Author Gunnar Heinsohn rather callously explains that because of disparate birthrates between the West and Afghanistan, Afghani "disposable sons" will eventually outlast NATO forces:

"Nearly half a million (Afghanis) reach military age every year. Close to 300,000 of them may be tempted by Taliban tales of victory or heroic death. When it comes to high-tech weapons, ISAF has the advantage. But when it comes to "disposable sons"—the ultimate weapon of war—the ratio between Afghanistan and NATO/ISAF is four million to zero in favor of Afghanistan."

Heinsohn posits that the Soviet Union, in which most families only had one son, could not stomach a bloody drawn out war, and NATO forces will not either, in contrast to the local population, in which the supply of young men that the insurgent forces will send to war is literally endless. If you think that's blunt, check out his plan for NATO untangling itself from the conflict:

"Western nations try to turn the international war, for which they do not have enough manpower, back into a civil war in which it will fall on the Afghans themselves to consume recent and coming youth bulges. The West does not count on the bloodshed ending soon. Yet, they hope to get their own men out of harms way..."

The United States is not losing any many soldiers in combat as the Russians did, or as we did during the Vietnam War. However, the U.S military is stretched to the brink in Iraq, where we have shown little signs of a serious draw-down. Without massive extensions of tours of duty or a draft, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which we can compete with wave after wave of young, angry, Afghani insurgents.

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