Petraeus: Afghan War Could Take Another Decade

Conflict 'Like Watching Grass Grow or Paint Dry'

People have often wondered what war looks like from the commander’s point of view. Speaking today on ABC News Gen. David Petraeus gave us some insight on his perspective of the Afghan War. To him it’s like “watching grass grow or paint dry.”

Paint with ever increasing casualties propping up an increasingly corrupt government, of course, but Gen. Petraeus insists that despite the record death tolls and the lack of visible improvements some “very hard-fought gains” have been won in the war. He suggested, as have so many others, that the casualties showed the progress, because the “enemy fights back when you take away really significant sanctuaries.”

But how much long will the general watch his growing grass get mowed down? It could be quite some time, as Petraeus agreed that “success over the insurgency” could be another 9-10 years away.

Yet with violence continuing to worsen this decade-out projection can only be a guess, and Petraeus’ insistence that he has “the leaders in place, the big ideas and so forth” rings ridiculously hollow if it isn’t enough to prevent another decade of war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.