President Bush on Winning in Afghanistan
AEI Newsletter

On February 15, President George W. Bush addressed AEI on the global War on Terror. The central theme of the speech was the U.S. strategy to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and consolidate democracy there. In the following excerpt, President Bush outlines five strategic priorities for the war.

President George W. Bush
President George W. Bush

Our goal in Afghanistan is to help its people defeat the terrorists and establish a stable, moderate, and democratic state that respects the rights of its citizens, governs its territory effectively, and is a reliable ally in this war against extremists and terrorists. For some that may seem like an impossible task. But it’s not impossible if you believe what Jeane Kirkpatrick said: that freedom is universal, that we believe all human beings [ought] to live in freedom and peace.

We’re focused on five key goals that I want to share with you. First, the United States and our allies will help President Hamid Karzai increase the size and capabilities of the Afghan security forces. The United States and our allies will also work with Afghanistan’s leaders to improve human intelligence networks.

The second part of our strategy is to work with our allies to strengthen the NATO force in Afghanistan. For NATO to succeed, member nations must provide commanders on the ground with the troops and the equipment they need to do their jobs. NATO forces . . . must have the flexibility and rules of engagement necessary to do their jobs.

Third, the United States and our allies will help President Karzai improve provincial governance and develop Afghanistan’s rural economy. The best way to dry up Taliban recruits is to help Afghanistan’s government create jobs and opportunity. So NATO is operating twenty-five provincial reconstruction teams across the country. These teams will help build irrigation systems, improve power production, and provide access to microcredit, encouraging entrepreneurship, job formation, and enterprise.

Fourth, the United States and our allies will help President Karzai reverse the increase in poppy cultivation that is aiding the Taliban. After a decline in 2005, Afghanistan saw a marked increase in poppy cultivation last year. This is a direct threat to a free future for Afghanistan.

Finally, we’re going to help President Karzai fight corruption. Afghans too often see their courts run by crooked judges. It’s important to have the confidence of the people in a free society. Crooked judges make it hard to earn that confidence. The international community is helping this new government build a justice system to replace the rule of the Taliban with the rule of law.

Success in Afghanistan is important for our security. We are engaged in a long ideological struggle between the forces of moderation and liberty [and] the forces of destruction and extremism. It’s in our national interest that we succeed, and that we help President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan succeed.

The biggest source for success is the Afghan people themselves. They want their freedom. Jeane Kirkpatrick was right: people around the world, regardless of their faith, their background, or their gender, want to be free.

For a full transcript of President Bush’s speech, visit www.aei.org/publication25630/. For a related National Security Outlook on Afghanistan by AEI resident fellow Thomas Donnelly, visit www.aei.org/publication25613/.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

image The money in banking: Comparing salaries of bank and bank regulatory employees
image What Obama should say about China in Japan
image A key to college success: Involved dads
image China takes the fight to space
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Graduation day: How dads’ involvement impacts higher education success

Join a diverse group of panelists — including sociologists, education experts, and students — for a discussion of how public policy and culture can help families lay a firmer foundation for their children’s educational success, and of how the effects of paternal involvement vary by socioeconomic background.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Getting it right: A better strategy to defeat al Qaeda

This event will coincide with the release of a new report by AEI’s Mary Habeck, which analyzes why current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates and what the US can do to develop a successful strategy to defeat this enemy.

Friday, April 25, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Obamacare’s rocky start and uncertain future

During this event, experts with many different views on the ACA will offer their predictions for the future.   

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.