What Bushies and his neocons never seem to understand is that we cannot "win" a war against insurgency any more than police can win a riot. We can only quell and mollify. Certainly we need to eliminate as much of the murderous al-Qaida who actually instigated the terrorism as we can, but in a manner that those most directly affected will accept as right and sensitive to their morality and culture.
We'd have done much better in Afghanistan had we poured money and rebuilding immediately after the initial 2002 invasion coupled with a more direct and stronger hounding of OBL's Taliban in Bora Bora. This was the only time when we likely had them on the ropes, but let them off when we diverted resources by invading Iraq.
We sacrificed our moral high ground at that point. Our high-handedness and failure to study the British examples produced the chaos and increased resentment. The clumsy use of torture (of course we’ve always used it; everybody does, but discreetly and sparingly) and the sanctioning of it gave the antiwar extremists legitimacy.
We created them monster that we later have to defend ourselves from. It’s called “blowback.” It’s also called “come-uppance” by some who would either support us or not oppose us had not President Bush declared “You’re either with us or against us.”
Right now, the Afghan economy is supported almost entirely by the opium trade, but all we do is destroy their fields and tell them not to plant. In the meantime, we're allowing Turkey to plant opium since it is the only source of our analgesics. Perhaps we ought to extend that monopoly to Iraq, thereby both lowering our price for it and providing them with a legitimate means of making a profit. There are not many other cash crops that can be grown in that semiarid environment. It's about being "smart", something sorely lacking in the former administration that was ideologically based.
“If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road.” - George W. Bush
Boy, was that man smart!