Taliban’s Time Horizon Longer Than America’s

In contrast to World War II and Desert Storm – which had clear goals, even though those of the latter were limited – the war in Afghanistan resembles the Spanish-American War and the Vietnam War. In the former, the goal changed from defeating the Spanish in a conventional war to subduing Philippine guerrillas in order … Continue reading “Taliban’s Time Horizon Longer Than America’s”

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”

Why We Can’t Win in Afghanistan

To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning… let me count the ways. First and foremost, we don’t have enough troops. (Yes, yes, I know I’m a broken record to regular Antiwar.com readers.) The accepted standard for successful counterinsurgency operations is 20 soldiers per 1,000 civilians (recognized in the COIN – counterinsurgency – manual written in large … Continue reading “Why We Can’t Win in Afghanistan”

Pentagon Doubts Grow on McChrystal War Plan

Although Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s plan for wresting the Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar from the Taliban is still in its early stages of implementation, there are already signs that setbacks and obstacles it has encountered have raised serious doubts among top military officials in Washington about whether the plan is going to work. … Continue reading “Pentagon Doubts Grow on McChrystal War Plan”

Microsoft Scapegoat 1.0

The Pentagon’s lame-excuse directorate has a new reason why we’re not winning our woeful war on -ism. The “Blame Cell,” in its various ad hoc and formal manifestations, has been successfully warding off culpability for the Defense Department’s failures since the Korean War. Our services’ graduate-level war college programs wax operatic about the brilliance of … Continue reading “Microsoft Scapegoat 1.0”

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”

COIN of the Realm

The short version of an old joke about U.S. defense spending goes like this: An overweight nuclear submarine skipper baffles the congressional defense appropriations subcommittees with a line of technical gobbledygook Einstein wouldn’t understand, and the subcommittees give the Navy whatever it wants. A short, bald fighter pilot feeds the subcommittees a ration of dwarfed … Continue reading “COIN of the Realm”