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Archive for November, 2009

Tom Ricks, who I do respect, and love his books, wrote a very biased list of reformers in regard to the COIN movement inside the Army today (he works with a lot of them as well). A lot of these people, if not most, are beltway insiders (I don’t know everyone of them, but do most). They almost all get a lot of media attention for the wrong reasons. I disagree almost totally with Tom’s list. So, I published my own list below.  I disagree as I explain below. Read Tom’s list at the bottom of this post, then read mine here.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas,

Don

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The deep hostility of Britain’s senior military commanders in Iraq towards their American allies has been revealed in classified Government documents leaked to the Daily Telegraph.
By Andrew Gilligan
Telegraph
Published: 10:00PM GMT 22 Nov 2009
In the papers, the British chief of staff in Iraq, Colonel J.K.Tanner, described his US military counterparts as “a group of Martians” for whom “dialogue is alien,” saying: “Despite our so-called ‘special relationship,’ I reckon we were treated no differently to the Portuguese.”
Col Tanner’s boss, the top British commander in the country, Major General Andrew Stewart, told how he spent “a significant amount of my time” “evading” and “refusing” orders from his US superiors.

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The Afghan debacle is becoming a case study of how political debate in Versailles drips in a naturally self-organizing way to protect the dysfunctional status quo. As I indicated yesterday and in September, the fundamental flaw that set the stage for the current policy making fiasco was the unexamined analytical hole in General McChrystal’s escalation strategy — namely, its dependence of the rapid expansion of the corrupt and ineffective Afghan national security forces.

McChrystal did not analyze this corruption/ineffectiveness issue, but that crucial omission was ignored the hoorah accompanying the immediate leaking of report by his allies buried somewhere in the Versailles apparat. The only alternative that surfaced during cacophony of the ensuing months, the so-called Biden plan, was equally reckless, because it also glossed over this analytical hole by advocating that we substitute a greater reliance on robotic drones for boots on the ground (drones create their own problems) and further accelerate training of the Afghan forces. With Versailles leaking like a sieve, the debate became a ridiculous fact-free exercise in macho venting.

Now, it is beginning to look like Ambassador Eikenberry (a former Army general and possibly an adult to boot) has moved to pull everyone’s fat out of the fire by blaming the chaos in the escalation debate on corruption by the Karzai government (true enough), but not surprisingly, this blame is being treated implicitly in Versailles as if were a new development that has arisen suddenly since McChrystal’s supporters leaked his fatally flawed report. In this “new” rush of developments, the attached report in the Times [UK] can be forgiven if it inadvertently helps to reinforce the collective amnesia, because it does not connect the dots to link the obvious flaws in the original McChrystal strategy and the cynical leaking of that report which together put the whole dripping circus into motion.

Mr. Obama is in a no win situation, and the time to cut his losses is past due. Hopefully, he has learned a lesson and heads will roll. But I fear the more likely outcome will be double down with some form of mushy middle course, possibly adorned with Mr. Karzai’s carcass twisting slowly in the wind, that protects everyone in Versailles, if only in the short term.

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This is by far the most precise, well written piece written on why the war in Afghanistan is leading to failure and why those who support it are self promoting themselves in keeping it going.

I am proud Chuck Spinney is a mentor and friend.

Don

[ Note: I added some hot links to the attached article to assist readers in understanding some the background underpinning my argument. CS ]

November 12, 2009

 Obama and the Triumph of the Will The Afghan War Question By FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY

http://www.counterpunch.org/spinney11122009.html

Marmaris, Turkey.

In the opening lines of the oldest treatise on the conduct of war, Sun Tzu said that the question of war is vital to the state, and therefore, it is imperative to study it. This timeless advice has been been ignored repeatedly by the United States since the end of WWII. The inevitable result has been an insensible rise of war mongering, fueled by arrogance and ignorance, culminating in the chaotic spectacle now enveloping the Afghan War Question in Washington.

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On War # 321: 4GW Comes to Ft. Hood

William S. Lind 10 November 2009

Last week’s shootings at Ft. Hood, in which thirteen U. S. Soldiers were killed and 30 people wounded, appear to be a classic example of Fourth Generation war.

The shooter, U. S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was a practicing Muslim. He sometimes wore traditional Islamic dress and carried a Koran. He reportedly cried “Allahu Akbar” before he opened fire.

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