When Donald Trump was running for president, his iconic ideal of military leadership was Gen. George Patton, especially as depicted by George C. Scott in the 1970 film, gloriously leading armored columns across Western Europe to victory in World War II.
But the counterinsurgency, counterterrorism conflicts of the 21st century aren’t won that way. Enemies often don’t wear a uniform, insurgencies infect a nation’s bloodstream, and tanks are not a cure-all. A prime example is the war in Afghanistan, now in its 16th year.
The war is a stalemate. The U.S. can’t win but can’t afford to lose. On an average day, 20 Afghan soldiers or police are dying. Given the blood and treasure Americans and Afghans have sacrificed, along with the risk of seeing freedoms extinguished and a resurrection of terrorist havens, Trump at least should decide what to do next.