Bing West in Helmand

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by tomahawk6, Aug 25, 2009.

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  1. Bing West's latest book has just been published

    THE WRONG WAR
    Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan
    By Bing West
    Illustrated. 307 pp. Random House. $28.

    It was the lead review in the NYT Book section as he makes contrary oservations to the current orthodoxy. The war can be won but the current COIN doctrine of winning hearts & minds doesn't work, the US is there to fight & kill the enemy not nation build, also the US has created a culture of dependency giving money to Karzai & his cronies and getting nothing in return.

    Finally he states that though the ANA are frightened of the Taliban, the US should reduce their force levels by one half, relying on SF units to bolster/mentor/cajole/kick the ANA to victory. No mention of rehab being part of the handover to the ANA ,so they don't fall-over before the can stand up.

    The NYT review is worth reading
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/books/review/Filkins-t.html?_r=1&ref=books
    Note the click-thru to the podcast for an extended audio review.

    On Amazon they have a video in which he narrates his thesis
    Amazon.com : Watch a trailer for the book

    From Publishers Weekly
    Starred Review. West (The Strongest Tribe), a former Marine combat veteran and assistant secretary of defense under Reagan, boldly assesses the prospects for U.S. success in Afghanistan in this provocative analysis.
    The author made eight trips to Afghanistan to witness the Obama administration's counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes "winning over the population" ("Thus our military became a gigantic Peace Corps... drinking billions of cups of tea, and handing out billions of dollars"). Embedded with frontline troops in Afghanistan's most violent provinces, West eloquently captures their tireless efforts to carry out an "amorphous" mission. The lack of "understandable policy" confused the soldiers, encouraged risk avoidance among commanders, and "created a culture of entitlement" instead of cooperation among the Afghans who are content to accept aid and remain neutral as they wait to see whether the Americans or the insurgents will take ultimate control.
    Concluding that we can't win with this strategy but that withdrawal would be "disastrous," the author proposes that the U.S. immediately "transition to an adviser corps" whose primary task would be to continue training Afghan forces to defeat the Taliban. West's vivid reporting and incisive analysis provides a sober assessment of the present situation and prescribes a way for the Afghans to "win their own war."

    Interesting to read that there still those that believe the war is winnable.
    I'm just not convinced that the MkI ANA soldier is the last credible hope that Col. West can point to
    in turning the war arround whilst advocating troop reductions & financial cut-backs.
    Others here with more current experience may like to comment.

    The comments on the Amazon site from serving US soldiers [customer reviews] tend to give his thesis some credibility.
    Amazon.com: The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan (9781400068739): Bing West: Books

    Wishful thinking by a Vietnam Vet, or, is there really rabbit still left in the hat?