2. It Spoils Them Rotten

As West spells out in frustrating detail, the nation-building policies of the last two administrations have made welfare clients rather than allies out of Pakistani villages. Even if you think that counterinsurgency programs rather than counterterrorist missions are a wise policy, all carrot and no stick is doomed to fail.

Thus, our military became a gigantic Peace Corps, holding millions of shuras, drinking billions of cups of tea, and handing out billions of dollars for projects. Risk in battle was avoided because generals proclaimed that killing the enemy could not win the war. Senior officials fantasized that the war would be won by protecting and winning over the population. The tribes however, were determined to remain neutral, while the Afghan president tolerated corruption and ineffectiveness. The futile effort to build a democracy diverted the energies of our soldiers and weakened their martial spirit.

For years, Pakistan was in the hunting-bin-Laden business, to the tune of $2 billion a year. If they actually had “found him” it would have been nice publicity, but that would have ended that particular gravy train.

Of course, as Flynn details in The Last Man, the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency, was neck deep with bin Laden from the beginning — and the location of his ultimate hiding place only adds to the suspicion that that association did not end after 9/11.

Our policy now is of continuous handouts to tribal leaders whose hands are constantly out, but who will do nothing to help us against the Taliban because they know there is a date certain where we will be gone and they will be on their own.  All the while we do nothing to make them regret coddling the terrorists.