Tags: afghanistan | obama

Expert: Obama Making Huge Mistake in Afghanistan

By David A. Patten   |   Tuesday, 01 Dec 2009 08:00 PM

William R. Polk, an author, Middle East expert, and relative of America's 11th president, James K. Polk, warns that America is ensnared in Afghanistan and ought to get out immediately.

The former foreign policy adviser for Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign tells Newsmax "we don't have any plan about what we should be doing."

Polk also opposed the war in Iraq, and is a vivid example of the push back President Obama is getting from his own party, as he tries to craft a successful strategy for Afghanistan.

Polk recently released “Understanding Iran: Everything You Need to Know, From Persia to the Islamic Republic, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad.” He spoke with Newsmax.TV's Ashley Martella.

See Video: Foreign policy expert William R. Polk discusses the huge task for President Obama in Afghanistan -

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The author says he sees striking parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam.

"The major thing is that we were dealing in Vietnam with a government that was basically not liked by its people, corrupt, and didn't control much of the territory," he tells Newsmax. "It’s the same situation we face now in Afghanistan. There are warlords that control the north, the Taliban control the south.

"The reach of the government is more or less restricted to downtown Kabul. Even in downtown Kabul, representatives of the Taliban can meet with foreign correspondents with complete impunity. So the government is very little for us to rely on," he says.

Part of the problem in Afghanistan, he tells Newsmax, is simple math. Counterinsurgency theory requires 25 soldiers per thousand people, he says. So controlling Afghanistan would actually require between 600,000 and 1.3 million troops, he says.

Polk says America's experience in Afghanistan also closely parallels that of the former Soviet Union, which endured a humiliating defeat there. Like the Soviet Union, he says, the U.S. military is only able to partially control Afghanistan. Another parallel: Once troops leave an area, warlords and the Taliban soon move in to take control.

According to Polk, the notion that a surge in Afghanistan could duplicate U.S. success in Iraq is flawed. The surge in Iraq really didn't work as advertised, he says.

"What happened in Iraq is we essentially hired a large group of people who were potentially supporters of the dissidents -- the so-called Sunni revival movement," he told Newsmax. "As soon as we stopped paying them, they stopped being our friends."

The situation in Iraq, Polk claims, "is much more stable in our minds than it is in the minds of anyone in Iraq."

Like many Democrats, Polk would like to see Obama pull out of both Iraq and Afghanistan immediately.

Polk adds that he's not worried about al-Qaida returning to Afghanistan, if it's overrun by the Taliban. Terrorists can operate anywhere, he says, and Afghanistan is not a desirable location compared to others.

Polk maintains that there is a growing groundswell of opposition to the war. He says "quite a lot of military people" now agree with his perspective.

See Video: Foreign policy expert William R. Polk discusses the huge task for President Obama in Afghanistan -

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