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Afghanistan War Is Not Over

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    And will not be over for years.

    I love this non partisan writeup by Washington Quarterly. It's fantastic to read the whole thing but there's a few excellent points I'd like to highlight.

    I can't quote efficiently on tapatalk so will just preface :

    So that's one big whopper but pretty obvious. Even if no one is talking about it.

    Take away from that? Hearts and minds is a bunch of bullshit when all people understand is savagery and violence. Not exactly PC but that is the conclusions drawn here.

    Now of course the disclaimer is that nothing is definitive because this is still ongoing but the debate is important nevertheless.

    But good lord I love this quote : Counterinsurgency is not social work, and its purpose is not to make local civilians like Americans.

    I urge everyone interested in foreign affairs to read that.

    Afghanistan’s Legacy: Emerging Lessons of an Ongoing War | The Washington Quarterly | Elliott School of International Affairs | The George Washington University
  2. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Those who fail to learn from history will repeat it. "Hearts and Minds" echo from the Mekong to Ira Drang Valley to the Wall.
    Allene and ethics like this.
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member


    Here's the quote on why the "ink blots" COIN wasn't as effective as they should have been and this is about the Republic and not military. Check this out:

    The underlying problem here is a tacit assumption throughout FM 3-24 that U.S. political interests align with the host’s. The manual implicitly assumes that the host government wants to be an effective, disinterested, broadly representative defender of its people’s well-being. The host thus theoretically shares with the United States a mutual ambition for what the manual refers to as legitimacy—the host just lacks the means to achieve it. Hence, the manual focuses on providing the means: equipping would-be Jeffersonian democrats in the host government with schools, clinics, judges and prosecutors, trained administrators and police, well-equipped soldiers. The doctrine also emphasizes connecting this more capable government to the people, so the public will see their stake in the government’s success and sacrifice on its behalf.

    In Afghanistan, this assumption has proven badly mistaken. Much of the Afghan government operates as a collection of patronage networks that systematically extract resources from the population for the benefit of those networks and the power brokers who run them. This is hardly a disinterested attempt to improve the lives of average Afghans. And it happens not because the government lacks an adequate supply of trained administrators or roads or schools—it happens because the elites who run the system profit from it and want it to function this way. Hence, this problem will not diminish merely by the West increasing Afghanistan’s material capacity to govern. On the contrary, poorly monitored “capacity building” often makes the problem worse by supplying patronage networks with the money and resources needed to reward their allies, punish their rivals, and extract resources from the public more effectively. Worse still, U.S. attempts to connect the public to local government organs that the public sees as predatory implicate the United States in official predation and suggest to prospective victims that they have nowhere to turn for succor but the insurgency.
  4. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    Shiny, I was just getting ready to mention Vietnam, but you beat me to it.
  5. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Counter insurgency warfare is designed to prop up or reinforce the legitimate government from those wishing to replace it or bring it down. The key requirement is also the hardest to define, legitimate. In VN we defined the legitimate government by whoever was currently agreeing with us. We are guilty of the same error in Afghanistan. We are supporting whatever warlord that is currently agreeing with us. We have a kind of wishful thinking attitude that if they agree with us their people want them.
    ethics likes this.
  6. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    There you go. That's the jackpot right there.

    The premise is the following and in progression:

    A. Commit risk of troop and civilian lives, deployment cost.
    B. Start "ink blotting" areas militarily
    C. Work with the local and regional government to connect with people.

    Bush and Co. didn't do A so B and C wasn't attainable.

    Then we had the surge in Iraq in 2009, and we've achieved A. we even started achieving B. But C? We've fucked up on because -- as the study points out -- the local, regional, nor country govt. doesn't want to HELP people, they want to leach, use them. So then the populace starts looking at US as predatory because we are in bed with the govt AND we are trying to connect them even closer. So even before you can avoid or dupe the govt. we've (US) made it easier for the government to go after people.

    ShinyTop likes this.
  7. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    Not very smart! I agree. Not having any real understanding of these cultures doesn't help either.
    ethics likes this.

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