Small Wars Journal

Wood and Smith on Afghanistan

Happy Talk About War Doesn't Fly With Troops on the Ground - David Wood, Politics Daily.

... If we learned anything from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is that war is uncontrollable. That it does not march to the drumbeats of rhetoric or the PowerPoint plans coming from Washington. That to some extent it is unpredictable -- except for the seldom-heard prediction that war will take longer, cost more and resolve less than hoped for.

Obama's comments brought to mind an off-the-cuff remark by President Bush in October 2006, when bloodshed in Iraq had gone off the charts and the Pentagon was desperately casting about for a new strategy.

Asked if "we're winning'' in Iraq, Bush blurted: "Absolutely, we're winning!''

Should presidents and their administrations be relentless cheerleaders after they send young Americans into combat? Or should they risk losing public support by passing on the bad news from their commanders? ...

Much more at Politics Daily.

Obama Administration Searching for an Exit Strategy in Afghanistan - Herschel Smith, The Captain's Journal.

... Nothing happens in counterinsurgency in short order, we observed, and thus his counsel to the President is poor. The Generals are indignant, and have retained the right in their mind to request the troops they believe to be necessary for the campaign. But this view has not been heard in Washington, and not only does Obama's counselors and advisers believe that the campaign can be turned in short order, but we now learn that Obama believes this - contrary to doctrine, contrary to the views of General Petraeus, contrary to the Generals, and contrary to the lessons of Iraq. Everyone wants an exit from war. No one likes to see the human cost of battle. The question is not one of exit - it is of when and how?

While issues of life and death play themselves out in Afghanistan and sons of America continue to lose limbs and lives, the administration blythely continues to believe in myths and fairly tales concerning war and peace, and fashion plans for Afghanistan that have no chance to succeed. The plans must change, but until they do, the question is what the cost will be in national treasure and blood?

Much more at The Captain's Journal.


Boatspace (not verified)

Thu, 07/16/2009 - 3:30pm

"Happy talk on the ground doesn't fly with the troops on the ground." Hallelujah - a mass epiphany has occurred - next time ask!

"Nothing happens in counterinsurgency in short order, we observed, and thus his counsel to the President is poor." - Who is we?

An interesting comment considering the "reinventing of the wheel" on countinsurgency and the utter lack in understanding even the basics until relatively recently.

Considering Jim Jones cut his teeth in this type invironment, I'd imagine your commander-in-chief might get some fair appraisal, and just want's to make sure you can all pull it off before we find ourselves bogged-down in Afghanistan.

Show some progress, and you get some more footprint that commanders are forever asking for, ala General Westmoreland!

Greyhawk (not verified)

Sun, 07/19/2009 - 11:25pm

"You guys do this right, and you can stay. Otherwise, you're outta there."

Hella plan.