The Wisdom of the Times, Afghanistan 2001: “Give War A Chance”?

From the New York Times, November 2, 2001:

A month into the war in Afghanistan, the hand-wringing has already begun over how long this might last. Let’s all take a deep breath and repeat after me: Give war a chance. This is Afghanistan we’re talking about. Check the map: It’s far away.

Thomas Friedman

I have no doubt, for now, that the Bush team has a military strategy for winning a long war. I do worry, though, whether it has a public relations strategy for sustaining a long war. Over time, Arab and Muslim public opinion will matter. . . . So too will the next generation in the region. It is critical that generation see bin Laden as a rogue, not a role model. So how do we fight this P.R. war?

The most important way we win the public relations war is by first winning the real war – by uprooting the Taliban regime and the bin Laden network, and sending the message that this is the fate of anyone who kills 5,000 innocent Americans.

Quite simply, if we win the war and are seen to be winning, we will have friends and allies in the Arab-Muslim world. If we are seen as losing the war or wavering, our allies will disappear in a flash. . . .

Everybody knows

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