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’”

Deferring to Petraeus, NIE Failed to Register Taliban Growth

Despite evidence that the Taliban insurgency had grown significantly in 2010, the U.S. intelligence community failed to revise its estimate for Taliban forces as part of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan in December. That unusual decision was in deference to Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan, who did not want … Continue reading “Deferring to Petraeus, NIE Failed to Register Taliban Growth”

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”

Woodward’s Exposé Documents What We All Suspected

The talk in Washington of late has been Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars. The books are piled in the front of every bookstore in town, and people are whispering in the usual “inside baseball” way, about who in the Washington security bureaucracies dissed whom to Woodward. If it weren’t for the latest salacious bureau-gossip, the … Continue reading “Woodward’s Exposé Documents What We All Suspected”

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”

Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy Increasingly Under Siege

Monday’s release by WikiLeaks of tens of thousands of classified documents detailing the travails of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s secret support for the Taliban from 2004 through 2009 comes amid a growing crisis of confidence in the nearly 9-year-old war. Coming on top of the steady increase in U.S. and NATO casualties … Continue reading “Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy Increasingly Under Siege”

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”