24 June 2010

Time For A Change In Afghanistan -- Defeat al-Qaeda And Stop Supporting The Afghan Government

Some very interesting analysis of the situation in Afghanistan from the well-informed and thoughtful Information Dissemination. Below are excerpts from their posts from the last few days.

Obama's Ernest King Moment

On December 20th, 1941, when President Roosevelt called upon Fleet Admiral Ernest King after King's appointment to COMINCH, Admiral King was reported to have said "When they get in trouble they send for the sons-of-bitches”.

We now know who one of that group is - General Petraeus.

The next will be the person named to replace General Petraeus at CENTCOM - who I hope is General Mattis ... But suspect could be Admiral Stavridis.

It is Time to Call in General Mattis

Is the strategic objective to defeat al-Qaeda and other extremist groups and deny them sanctuary or is it to protect the Afghan population, establish good governance, and rebuild the economy?

Those are two entirely different strategic objectives, but both become the strategic objective when you add the words "that in turn requires a sweeping counterinsurgency campaign."Counterinsurgency has become the slipper that fits every foot, when in fact military history suggests there are other military strategies for military engagement in failed states when unity governance cannot be achieved or established by an external state.

The McCrystal strategy depends, almost entirely, on the Afghanistan Army and Police forces being stood up and taking control of security of the country. How is that working out? I hope the President asks the question.

The McCrystal strategy also depends on a strong central government in Afghanistan, because without it the population of the country could legitimately be labeled the insurgent. How many tribes support the central government? How many support the Taliban? How many are partners with the ISAF? I hope these are questions the President asks.

I also think it is time to draft a strategy to meet the Presidents objectives of defeating al-Qaeda and other extremist groups and denying them sanctuary and give up the central government building exercise that has been completely ineffective - and indeed perhaps counterproductive.

The Marines left Iraq to go to Afghanistan. They wanted it - I hope the President gives it to them. I strongly believe that President Obama needs to pick one of two men - Lieutenant General John R. Allen or General James Mattis. No more West Point COINdinistas guys - it is time to pick a Marine.

It is time to call in General James Mattis.

More on McCrystal

The problem is that we appear to be losing the war, and now you have an internal distraction the enemy had nothing to do with.

The President made Afghanistan his war when he decided to go with General McCrystal's counterinsurgency strategy and began surging additional troops. I don't want to hear how the President of the United States had no choice regarding Afghanistan and was backed into the corner - because to suggest that is true is to basically say Barack Obama is not qualified to be the leader of the free world.

The President has lost his General. Has he lost the General McCrystal counterinsurgency strategy too? Is losing the war not so far behind?

I just wish there was one thing so far during the Obama administration to date I could point to and suggest there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the lack of direction and focus that is displayed in every emerging challenge this administration has faced to date suggests that a pattern of panic, confusion, chaos, and indecision regarding what to do will become the next phase of the Afghanistan war.

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