Sep 26, 2009

It's no longer a counter-insurgency

"The record suggests what Gen. Stanley McChrystal clearly understands — that only the full counterinsurgency doctrine offers a chance of success. This is a doctrine, as General McChrystal wrote in his remarkable report, that puts population protection at the center of the Afghanistan mission, that acknowledges that insurgencies can only be defeated when local communities and military forces work together. To put it concretely, this is a doctrine in which small groups of American men and women are outside the wire in dangerous places in remote valleys, providing security, gathering intelligence, helping to establish courts and building schools and roads. These are the realistic choices for America’s Afghanistan policy — all out or all in, surrender the place to the Taliban or do armed nation-building."— David Brooks, NYT
It's a great piece but there's a flaw in Brook's argument: it's no longer a counter insurgency operation in Afghanistan. The Afghan government is too corrupt and illegitimate — as much of a threat to the US mission there as the Taliban. General McChrystal himself says so. The basic conditions for a counter-insurgent campaign have therefore not been met. It's a two front war.

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