CNAS Conference Becomes ‘Thumbsucker’

This is the fourth year I’ve attended and written about the perennial flocking of Washington’s military courtier class, otherwise known as the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) annual conference, always at the luxurious Willard Continental Hotel, always attended by thousands of dark blue suits and an impressive contingent of active duty military officers. … Continue reading “CNAS Conference Becomes ‘Thumbsucker’”

Gains in Kandahar Came with More Brutal US Tactics

The Barack Obama administration’s claim of "progress" in its war strategy is based on the military seizure of three rural districts outside Kandahar City in October. But those tactical gains have come at the price of further exacerbating the basic U.S. strategic weakness in Afghanistan – the antagonism toward the foreign presence shared throughout the … Continue reading “Gains in Kandahar Came with More Brutal US Tactics”

COIN and the Afghan Refugee Crisis

“Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child….” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843 “Have yourself a merry merry Christmas Have yourself a good time But … Continue reading “COIN and the Afghan Refugee Crisis”

Petraeus’s Two Campaigns

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Last Saturday, Chalmers Johnson died. I’m particularly proud that, in his last years, he did much of his most penetrating analysis of American militarism and our war state for this Web site. He penned his first piece for TomDispatch, “Assassins R Us,” in November 2003, called for abolishing the CIA here … Continue reading “Petraeus’s Two Campaigns”

Long Warfare Theory

“No nation ever profited from a long war.” – Sun Tzu Sun Tzu’s immortal The Art of War translates into a shade over 10,000 words of American English, roughly 40 pages of aphoristic wisdom presented in language that probably 75 percent of public-school third-graders could understand. One hundred percent of our military officers should understand … Continue reading “Long Warfare Theory”

Bloggers Chasten Washington Know-It-Alls

When the elite meet – and speak – we listen, especially in Washington, where every word uttered by the chosen few is like a breadcrumb tossed out for a starving man. Washington’s national security elite gathered itself up to deliver a full feast this month, collectively declaring that the Afghanistan policy is a disaster and … Continue reading “Bloggers Chasten Washington Know-It-Alls”

Calls for Change of Afghan Strategy Grow Louder

Amid continued high levels of violence and a steady stream of reports of high-level government corruption in Kabul, a growing number of foreign policy specialists are urging President Barack Obama to reconsider his counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy in Afghanistan. In a new report released here Wednesday, a bipartisan group of some three dozen former senior officials, … Continue reading “Calls for Change of Afghan Strategy Grow Louder”

Questioning COIN Assumptions in Afghanistan

Recently, Gen. David Petraeus issued new guidance for the members of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) operating in Afghanistan. This guidance differed little from the direction offered by his fired predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Petraeus’s memorandum states, “Secure and serve the population. The decisive terrain is the human terrain. The people are the … Continue reading “Questioning COIN Assumptions in Afghanistan”