Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by jumpinjarhead, Jan 7, 2011.
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Just off the presses:
Interesting read; but Im not sure just how impartial and therefore useful this really is.
It appears the author or the report was embedded within the Marines and based his report almost entirely on their briefings and opinions. While this produces some low level useful insights I am not convinced it can be used as any real validation of the 'new' strategy in Helmand.
I wish they would show some more of this positive material on the news more often.
Agree--if I could I would revise my title a bit.
Having just read Thomas Hames latest article, helpfully posted by JJH, I am even more hesitant about the slightly rose tinted view of this article. Reading both together I get the impression that we may be getting closer to tactical success in Helmand, but operational success will elude us until Afgan central governance is considerably stronger. Stratgic success will require a whole new approach to Pakistan; Afghanistan may turn out to be a small taster of a potential much worse situation if pakistan slides into Chaos!
That will only occur if we can find an equitable solution to the problem of Kashmir, and attempt to inoculate Pakistan against their pathological fear of being destroyed by her neighbour India, tbh, India has no desire to absorb or destroy Pakistan, she would rather she stop being such a bloody nuisance. However Pakistan's fear of India is pathological in the extreme, she knows that in any direct conflict she will lose big stylee. The use of proxies to prosectute a campaign vs India is the only game she has, and while that fear exists Pakistan will continue to shield and foster insurgent groups.
I am increasingly pessimistic that we will achieve any lasting "improvement" in Afghanistan beyond tactical and operational "blooding" of our forces in the sense of providing combat experience to the next generation of military leaders and testing of doctrine, equipment, tactics and systems.
In terms of strategic objectives, I think the best we can hope for will be creation of conditions that will at least provide the appearance of sufficient strength and stability of the Afghan government to provide a modicum of face-saving rationalization for extricating ourselves sooner than later. The long term prognosis for Afghanistan (and Iraq for that matter) is not good and I anticipate the "gains" during the last 9 years in providing at least an imperfect model of "modern" representative central government will prove transitory.
Thus the profound question for future experts, pundits and historians will be "was the cost in blood and treasure "worth it" in terms of anything gained over the long haul?" While I was never an isolationist, I confess I am coming much more to that view.
Sorry JJ not much we disagree on but I got that too. Stupid thickie Brits did Sweet FA except hunker down in their FOB's for years until the good old USofA showed those limey pricks something. It even brags about Body Counts. It is little removed from the stuff that has been leaked by the US State department about how terrible we Brits are. I'm all for learning from mistakes, and am a big fan of saving both British and American lives. But as we both know this report mentions nothing about problems the Brits have faced and the US has to face in upcomming fighting seasons, except in an overwhelming "We're on the ball" or "Its all the fault of Karzai, the British and the ISI".
The report comes up with some deep thoughts like "The Cops are corrupt which caused problems with the locals". No! Who'd have thunk it. Mentioning not a jot about the Brits trying to get rid of them years ago but being blocked by the US State department to whom Karzai was "Their man". The ISI is a problem, without mentioning who backed the assholes for decades. Or the fact that the US government got snooty about us hiring ex Taliban and stopped the Brits from doing it in Helmand, whilst doing exactly the same in Iraq and suddenly discovering Kit Carson scouts all over again now in Afghanistan. I could go on.
There's a couple of things to take out of this report. But if this is getting distributed to the USMC in Helmand, I hope it is printed out of paper that's soft, strong and thoroughly absorbant.
On the plus side. He's telling Obama exactly what he wants to hear. Enjoy your posting to Bora Bora Ambassador Dressler.
I merely posted it-I do not adhere to all its points.
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