Steve Schippert, my national security amigo from Threatswatch.org, scored an op-ed in The Washington Times. He’s not happy.
In war, and particularly in an Afghanistan counterinsurgency effort, there are always three sides to the coin: the good, the bad and the ugly. This is especially true in President Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy, finally announced to the American public Tuesday from a West Point backdrop.
The prescribed influx of much-needed American warriors onto the battlefield is clearly and rightly the good. And the good can withstand the bad, a Taliban enemy in the absence of reliable partners in the Afghan and Pakistani governments.
But the glimmering light of the good will surely be eclipsed by the ugly, an incoherence of strategy beneath the surface sheen of a surge. The devil is always in the details.
….For a counterinsurgency effort to succeed, the willing partners aren’t in Kabul or Islamabad, no matter the demands made upon each. Rather, they reside in the villages and towns spread through the provinces of Afghanistan. Winning over the local leaders will strengthen our position and ultimately lead to the Afghan people demanding better governance from Kabul.
This requires – in both word and deed – clear demonstration of presence and resolve, not in intellectual arguments for an exit strategy. There are no exits for the Afghans we seek to defend in parallel with our own security and interests.
Read the rest here.
Arm the tribes. Where there are no tribes, create loyalist paramilitaries from whatever networks are at hand for district and village self-defense. A heavily Tajik and Uzbek Afghan National Army will never fight the Taliban half as eagerly as Pushtun villagers defending their own homes and fields.