We killed bin Laden using the intelligence community and special forces. It took years to develop the necessary intelligence (hope some of you don't mind that the initial tip on the courier's nickname came as a direct result of "enhanced techniques" because, well, you know, those techniques don't really work) but when we had enough info we then deployed the most dangerous men in the world (Navy Seals) onto foreign soil without permission of a sovereign nuclear power and killed the bastard, ransacked his house for more intelligence raw material, scooped up the body and were on our way out in 40 minutes.
The lesson learned from yesterday is the same as the lesson learned when we helped drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. We used the CIA, other special ops personnel, and supplied money and weapons. We did not use armies. Armies are blunt instruments. Armies are targets. Armies are occupiers. Armies stay too long and generate resentment. The Russians had an army.
We should declare victory and withdraw from Afghanistan. And then we should stay fully engaged using strategies and the agencies that are designed for asymmetrical warfare.
Nation building in Afghanistan is a lovely thought that is pure folly. Our costs will come down and our effectiveness will go up when we work within the reality of what Afghan culture is. Yes, there will be effects from our withdrawal that we will hate. But I also hate $100 billion a year down the drain and, more importantly, troops being killed and maimed.
I don't support a withdrawal from the war on terrorism. But I do support adopting a significant change of strategy.
All the best,