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Recommended Reading

Top Billing! Sebastian Gorka in the National Post – “Understanding the jihadis, by way of Sun Tzu

The Taliban are not al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda is not the Taliban. Yes, the Taliban gave safe-haven to Osama bin Laden and his organization after he was expelled from Sudan in the late-1990s. Yes, members of al-Qaeda and even bin Laden’s own family have intermarried within Taliban power-groups, including the so-called Quetta Shura. But the Taliban must be understood as a heterogeneous group of warlords with variegated pasts and disparate interests. Some are former members of the governing regime that was dislodged by U. S. special forces and the CIA after 9/11. Others are primarily narcotraffickers, while some are tribally defined and established masters of regions which have proved impossible to domesticate for centuries

Professor Gorka teaches at National Defense University and is a fellow at Joint Special Operations University.

AFJ – Frank HoffmanStriking a balance:  Posturing the future force for COIN and conventional warfare

Analyst Frank Hoffman on the biggest debate in the defense community for the next four years – if not ten.

DNI How Would Boyd Analyze Afghanistan? and Chuck Spinney’s piece in Counterpunch.

John Boyd’s acolytes Chet Richards and Franklin “Chuck” Spinney on Afghanistan, the OODA Loop and COIN.

David IgnatiusKicking The CIA (Again)

Ignatius nails the specious nature of the charges being leveled by House Democrats.

The Left wing of the Left wing of the Democratic Party is quietly engaged in a concerted effort, outside of public scruitiny, to check presidential authority in foreign policy and shift America’s stance sharply leftward by gaining greater Congressional power over the IC and diminishing the bureaucratic leverage of the DoD through Senator Carl Levin’s bill proposing an unwanted, unasked for, “reorg” of deputy secretary positions. The GOP appears to be asleep. Or perhaps just dead.

SWJ Blog – Small Wars Journal $8,000 Writing Competition – Warning Order

$ 8000 ain’t hay.

Red Team JournalInterrogating the “Evil Futurist”

Foxes and Hedgehogs of the 21st century.

ubiwarSecrecy and Cybersecurity

Secrecy has a point of diminishing returns.

That’s it!

5 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. onparkstreet Says:

     Oh man, regarding your top link, I was actually trying to read the Thomas Ruttig article titled "The Other Side" (no, I am not trying to be all: ‘look at what I am reading!’, I really am trying to learn. Always mildly horrifying.)

    The first para: "The insurgency in Afghanistan is a very complex phenomenon. Organisationally, it cannot be reduced to the Taleban. Its causes and motives make it much broader than what simply could be described as a terrorist structure."

    My head hurts. There is not just the Taleban and there is not just the insurgency? There are multiple?

    I am having trouble understanding the current administrations Afghanistan strategy and what victory will look like? Will we just stabilize a bit, train a bit, teach governance a bit, and then move out, declaring victory? This is a bit rambling, I know, but I am so out of my usual reading habits that it’s like I have to excercize a new part of my brain, or something.

    (Great links – why have I not been reading this site more regularly and more often? Silly me.)

  2. zen Says:

    Hi onparkstreet,
    The biggest change in COIN  is that the Cold War era primarily saw situations where the insurgents were  following a Maoist model which had an insurgency that was hierarchical and politically centralized with internal discipline and today we see highly decentralized insurgencies with multiple and competing groups of combatants that do not all share the same goals, just a common enemy. The Taliban, in other words, are not structured anything like the Vietcong were – they are now more like what used to be called a "front group" with a recognizable brand ( Taliban) and a general tendency ( Deobandi Islamist extremism) with room for individual commanders to freelance as warlords.
    You are not alone in being puzzled by the administration’s strategy. The bar is being set too high. We need to let Afghanistan be Afghanistan – the realistic goal should be a) government that is legitimate enough that Afghans are not in armed rebellion and b) that the country be actively hostile to al Qaida and it’s allies. That’s the extent of our interests there. Democracy, state building, NATO super-missions will be a bridge too far. Our model should be the Zahir Shah era – legitimate, quiet, civil peace as Afghans understand it.

  3. Lexington Green Says:

    A generation of "legitimate, quiet, civil peace as Afghans understand it" would be a gigantic step forward for them, compared to the last 30+ years.  With that, "connectivity" can be quietly spread by the private sector, at a rate that makes business-sense, and that the Afghans can handle.
    The decentralized nature of the Afghan resistance, and the relative weakness of its outside patron (elements of the Pak intelligence service and military) means it should be "beatable". 
    But it will be hard.  I think Obama is going to let people go on verbally about the various airy-fairy goals, but just go for a plain vanilla pretty-much-pacification, let it drift out of the headlines as casualties go down, and leave it alone after that.  I hope so. 

  4. A.E. Says:

    Thanks for the link!

  5. “You are not alone in being puzzled by the administration’s strategy.” « OnParkStreet Says:

    […] July 21, 2009 · Leave a Comment In a previous post here (and at Zenpundit) I asked,”What is victory supposed to look like in Afghanistan?” The following are related comments: […]

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