Friday, July 16, 2010

Good News from Afghanistan!

Only two weeks on the ground and General Petraeus is already making things happen! 
KABUL, Afghanistan — After intensive discussions with NATO military commanders, the Afghan government on Wednesday approved a program to establish local defense forces around the country, with the potential to help remote areas thwart attacks by Taliban insurgents. 

The NATO-backed program, which will be supervised by the Interior Ministry, will pay salaries to the members of these new forces, an inducement that could generate widespread recruitment. (NY Times)

Afghanistan Awakening

General Petraeus is adapting the successful Iraqi Awakening concept and applying it to Afghanistan.  Karzai is suspicious (probably because he and his cronies can't make money off of it), but NATO is pressing on.
The program is similar in some respects to the Sunni Awakening movement in Iraq — although it is not expected to include insurgents who have switched sides. 
I'm waiting to hear what Army veteran and military commentator Ralph Peters has to say.  He is one of my go-to experts on this kind of stuff.  It falls in line with what Peters has suggested to try and salvage some kind of win from this sagging effort.

Nationalization could take decades, making a regional approach the way to go.  You can call it bribery, you can call it making friends with "the enemy," but it worked in Iraq, and such an approach fits the cultural landscape.

Incentivizing local chieftains and their tribes to reject the Al Qaida foreigners is a good idea and it could work.  


Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

God knows I support our Military but we are not dealing with Iraqies here.

Iraq has known civilization, education and moderization for decades whereas Afghanistan has never know them.

Afghanistans own history also shows that any and all foriegn presence they did not want on their soil have been repulsed time and again.

These are tribal people and there is nothing wrong in that, it is just they do not nor ever will live by western standards.

Fredd said...

Silver: After reading your post, I couldn't wait to comment. Then, when I am all fired up to start typing, what do I see?

Christopher stealing my thunder.

He said the exact same thing I was going to say, and now I got nothing.

Ditto what Christopher said.

Silverfiddle said...

I have been to both countries, so I am well aware of the similarities and differences.

The only way we can get out of Afghanistan with our honor intact is to define victory down and try to stand up some semblance of order.

The national army and national police route is damn near hopeless unless we want to spend two generations there.

The regional/tribal approach is the least bad option.

Sorry guys, in war, there are few silver bullets. Gotta take what you can get.

Finntann said...

Christopher, Afghanistan had an urban civilization in 3000 BC. Was the site of Bactria-Margiana, an Indo-European culture from 2200-1700 BC. Was part of the Persian Empire followed by the Seleucid Empire, the eastern part of Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire. That period was followed by Greco-Bactria in which Afghanistan was the eastern terminus of the great Greek Hellenistic civilization.

In fact, Afghanistan didn't really begin to go down hill until the 7th century when it was invaded by the Arabs and became part of the Islamic Caliphate. The death blow to anything faintly resembling an Afghan civilization came with the invasion by Genghis Khan and the Mongols in the 12th century which resulted in the destruction of major cities, the despoilment of agricultural areas, and the wholesale slaughter of the population resulting in the tribalism you see today.

Afghanistan has been fought over by external powers ever since. From the early 19th century until the end of WWI, Afghanistan was essentially part of the United Kingdom. The Afghan history you refer to encompasses mainly the time from the early 19th century to present. The historical resistance you refer to being resistance to British and Soviet occupation.

Don't sell the Afghans short, they have more in common with your Indo-European civilization than the Iraqi's do.

The problem is not with Afghans but with Americans. We in the west have lost our stomach for offensive war. Sure we wobble about tossing high tech weapons here and there, but we have no stomach for it, no will to win. We engage in nothing more than extremely well-armed police actions with armor and airpower.

Unless you are willing to engage militarily on the level of Sheridan's Valley Campaign or Sherman's March to the Sea... our actions are pointless, contrary to our self-interest, and will lead to nothing but the loss of face. We will not lose any battles, but we will not defeat the insurgency.

The US military today is in no doubt the most highly efficient and effective military force ever to take to the field, yet politically and diplomatically we lack the heart, stomach, or will to win. Without the will to win the best we can do is arm the most tolerable factions, leave, and not look back until it's over.


Trestin said...

Well said, Finntann! I honestly have more hope for the Afghan people than most Iraqi.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Nice story Finn but reality is what we face.

The people of ancient Egypt built the Great Pyrimid(s) but so what? Where are they now?

See how your narrative devolves?

Silverfiddle said...

In all fairness, he was answering your statement about Afghanistan "Never" experiencing civilization, etc.

Finn provided some history to show that to be false. I don't know what you mean my his narrative devolving? What he said was true.

I think what you are saying, and it's a valid point, is "So what? Look at how uncivilized they are now."

If so, your point is valid.

My point is that we have no good options at this point. This regional strategy is the best way to play a very bad hand. I pray Petraeus and our troops can get things to the point where we can get the hell out of there with our heads held high. It will never be the United States of Central Asia...

Post a Comment