The editor of Prospect is to be congratulated on the balance shown by the publication of David Loyn’s magisterial feature on Afghanistan. Given her published views on this issue, it is to her great credit that she is willing to hear a different take. Bravo Prospect.
But why does the preamble to the article still use the language of the Napoleonic battlefield to describe the wars we fight now? Our recent campaigns do not admit of such simplistic judgements as “win” or “lose” and to offer such an assessment implies the final whistle has been blown, when, as Loyn makes clear, we have some time to wait before history offers a verdict. Moreover, if we judge Afghanistan by the original goal of our intervention—to prevent more attacks on the west—it has proved a success.