McChrystal’s Myth

There is no such thing a "victory" in the kinds of wars we’re fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The best one can hope for in these types of conflicts – counterinsurgency efforts in far-flung corners of the globe with fuzzy objectives and vague necessity – is to not be seen as having "lost." For that … Continue reading “McChrystal’s Myth”

McChrystal’s Conundrum

Is the Afghan war already lost? Well, not quite, says the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, but almost: "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) – while Afghan security capacity matures – risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible." That’s the gist of … Continue reading “McChrystal’s Conundrum”

US Afghan Campaign Plan Says Key Groups Back Taliban

The leak of the "initial assessment" of the war in Afghanistan by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in the war, with its blunt warning that "[f]ailure to provide adequate resources" is likely to result in "mission failure," was part of an obvious effort to force the hand of a reluctant President Barack Obama … Continue reading “US Afghan Campaign Plan Says Key Groups Back Taliban”

Obama’s High Noon

Recent events indicate that President Barack Obama is considering cutting the Pentagon’s "long war" short. First came his decision to drop the Bush administration policy of demanding that Iran cede its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes as a precondition to diplomatic talks. Then he canceled Bush’s pledge to deploy a missile-defense system that … Continue reading “Obama’s High Noon”

Death by Bananastan

I keep finding further proof that our ever increasing but directionless escalation of the Bananastan* conflict is the maddest military misadventure in human history. A former colleague recently sent me information regarding the newly formed Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell (PACC). From the looks of things, PACC intends to defeat the Taliban through the U.S. military’s … Continue reading “Death by Bananastan”

Mullen’s Mulligans

In golf and other sports, a "mulligan" is a second chance to get something right, sometimes referred to as a "do-over." In most sports, one do-over is all you get, and sports are just games. In war, humanity’s deadliest undertaking, the folks in charge of the Pentagon keep asking for another mulligan, and the president, … Continue reading “Mullen’s Mulligans”

The Man With the Plan for Bananastan

The Bananastans, the banana republic-style tar pits in Central Asia that we’ve stumbled into, have rapidly become a bigger cluster bomb than Iraq ever was. At his Senate confirmation hearing, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said the "measure of effectiveness" in Afghanistan "will not be enemy killed. It will be the number of Afghans shielded from violence." … Continue reading “The Man With the Plan for Bananastan”