A Second, Separate War

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton characterized the conflict in Afghanistan as a second and separate war from Iraq in a meeting with defense reporters yesterday. “Afghanistan is an entirely different war,” he said. “The enemy in Afghanistan has a different agenda than the enemies now in Iraq,” despite the bureaucratic rhetoric lumping them together, explained Skelton, adding, “The conflict in Afghanistan is a war of necessity—we had to go after al Qaeda and the Taliban who supported them. I don’t think we had any choice,” given the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and more linked to al Qaeda. “The al Qaeda network was headquartered [and] living sheltered in Afghanistan; we did what we had to do,” he said. Skelton believes there is some “light at the end of the tunnel” for the conflict in Afghanistan, but he also expressed concern about NATO living up to its promises there.