Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama and Afghanistan: whole new ****up

'The Army’s new counterinsurgency manual explains why this works. “Ultimate success in COIN [counterinsurgency] is gained by protecting the populace, not the COIN force. If military forces remain in their compounds, they lose touch with the people, appear to be running scared, and cede the initiative to the insurgents. Aggressive saturation patrolling, ambushes, and listening post operations must be conducted, risk shared with the populace, and contact maintained…These practices ensure access to the intelligence needed to drive operations. Following them reinforces the connections with the populace that help establish real legitimacy.”

David Kilcullen, an Australian counterinsurgency expert and advisor to General Petraeus, said something similar in an interview published in yesterday’s Washington Post when asked which lessons learned in Iraq can be applied in Afghanistan. “I would say there are three,” he said. “The first one is you’ve got to protect the population. Unless you make people feel safe, they won’t be willing to engage in unarmed politics. The second lesson is, once you’ve made people safe, you’ve got to focus on getting the population on your side and making them self-defending. And then a third lesson is, you’ve got to make a long-term commitment.”'

'President Barack Obama has said that the US must have an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan, even as Washington sends more troops to fight Taleban militants.

He was speaking in a CBS interview, as the White House prepares to unveil a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan.

Mr Obama said preventing attacks against the US remained its "central mission" in Afghan operations.'

Do you think President Obama has read the new US Army counterinsurgency manual? Do you suppose he knows anything about counterinsurgency practise or the psychological conditions which must prevail for a counterinsurgency force to prevail?

President Bush's message to the people of Iraq, and secondarily the Iranians and the Ba'athist rump was 'we are not going anywhere'. The surge was the megaphone, but additionally Bush's refusal to suggest even a vague timeline for leaving was his way of clearly stating that the US was in Iraq for the long haul.

I knew I was not going to like the Obama administration. I knew that Bush was vastly underestimated. But I didn't think Obama would be quite this bad.

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