The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency

There are moments that define a war. Just such a one occurred on June 21, when Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry helicoptered into Marjah for a photo op with the locals. It was to be a capstone event, the fruit of a four-month counterinsurgency offensive by Marines, North Atlantic … Continue reading “The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency”

Helmand in a Handbag

“What, Me McWorry?” noted that by replacing Stan McChrystal with David Petraeus, Barack Obama has bought the Pentagon’s Long War agenda lock, stock, and pork barrel. “Helmand in a Handbag” discusses why it seems that our national security team is losing its woebegone wars on purpose. Gen. Stanley McChrystal had ample reasons for wanting to … Continue reading “Helmand in a Handbag”

Exum’s Challenge: Game On!

As the dust was settling on what has been glibly called the “Rolling Stan” affair, it became apparent that the biggest damage that reporter Michael Hastings wrought was not in exposing Gen. Stan McChrystal and his staff for their impolitic grumblings, but in challenging the very strategy of the war itself. More specifically, he raised … Continue reading “Exum’s Challenge: Game On!”

Obama Is No Superman

As the ecology in the Gulf circles the sticky tar drain of evolution, and countless livelihoods spanning at least four states going down with it, Americans are wondering where their Superman is. The disappointment that President Barack Obama seems stuck in the phone booth, still deciding whether to get his suit on, is nothing new. … Continue reading “Obama Is No Superman”

COIN Think-Tank Jumps Shark

The first thing one noticed about this year’s annual conference for the Center for a New American Security – the think-tank for the Washington defense and foreign policy establishment today – is how un-newsworthy it was. In fact, Google it, and pretty much nothing comes up. It might have been planned that way. The year … Continue reading “COIN Think-Tank Jumps Shark”

King David and His Howling Commandos

As Renaissance political scientist Niccolo Machiavelli noted, the fall of Rome came about when its military elite, known as the Praetorian Guard, gained control over the emperor and the Senate. Had irony survived the Bush Jr. administration, it would relish that America’s empire is crumbling under the undue influence of its military elite, the United … Continue reading “King David and His Howling Commandos”

The Five-Sided House of Usher

The tea leaves tell me we’re about to experience a seismic event that will produce the next collapse of our five-sided House of Usher, the Pentagon. The last time we saw a temblor of that magnitude was in November 2006. Just before the mid-term election, young Mr. Bush assured us that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld … Continue reading “The Five-Sided House of Usher”

Heart of McDarkness

The latest bunker mentality bunk to emanate from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is that he has too many civilian contractors hoofing around on his turf. Back in June 2009, a "civilian surge" was a key component of his strategy. What made him change his mind? Maybe his attitude … Continue reading “Heart of McDarkness”