Failure in Iraq, and the Coming Failure in Afghanistan, Explained

By: Wednesday July 30, 2014 8:55 am

The Chinese Army roared through the small town in Northern Virginia.

The initial troops were tough veterans of the fighting outside DC, and a lot of people were killed by early shelling and mortar attacks. A tank battle near the Arlington Hospital destroyed much of the building and faulty intelligence that weapons were being stored inside the Thomas Jefferson elementary school led to the horrific air attack that killed 50 children with a “smart bomb.” The Chinese initially denied it all, until Eastern media broadcast cell phone photos. That prompted the Chinese to claim local residents actually blew up the school either by accidentally mis-aiming their crude mortars, or as a propaganda ploy. A gang rape of a young woman was never reported on the Chinese news even though it was common knowledge among residents.

 

The Romance of Counterinsurgency

By: Sunday June 24, 2012 6:00 pm

Ah, the romance of counterinsurgency surprisingly still alive and well … the old mujahadin sharing tea with me …. and then we kill his kids since it’s precisely these free of red tape SOF units that have been responsible for so many civilian casualties.”

Can Petraeus Avoid Self-Promotion at CIA?

By: Friday April 29, 2011 7:40 am

Articles by Phil Stewart and Mark Hosenball at Reuters and Walter Pincus at the Washington Post finally, now that he has been formally nominated by President Obama, point out the difficulties David Petraeus will face as he becomes the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Taken together, the two articles clearly paint Petraeus as a highly politicized military man intent on becoming president who now must take on the role of a traditionally civilian agency tasked with providing neutral analysis. Most importantly, Stewart and Hosenball point out that a key portion of that analysis will cover the progress of military strategy set in motion in Afghanistan by Petraeus himself. Pincus quotes CIA veteran John Gannon asking the key question of whether Petraeus will be able to avoid self-promotion when providing that analysis.

Pentagon Assertions of “Progress” In Afghanistan Are a Bad Joke

By: Wednesday March 9, 2011 7:20 pm

The Pentagon wants you to ignore some inconvenient facts about the failure of the escalation strategy in Afghanistan.

The latest Petraeus/Gates media tour is under way in preparation for the general’s testimony to Congress next week, and they’re trotting out the same, tired spin they’ve been using since McChrystal was replaced in disgrace last year.

80 Raids in One Day: Petraeus’ Questionable COIN in Afghanistan

By: Friday January 21, 2011 8:35 am

Why did Gen. David Petraeus send special ops folks out to conduct “more than 80 raids and other operations” inside a day’s time, according to Politico’s Morning Defense report Wednesday — that’s an insane number of raids for what should be relatively small working groups of individuals. Was it just because the weather was good?

War Crimes in Afghanistan? Time To Investigate

By: Monday January 17, 2011 4:15 pm

We have clear evidence that there may be an ongoing policy of collective punishment and expulsion, war crimes under international and US law, happening in Afghanistan, and it’s time for the House oversight committee to investigate.

A Northern Soul: Southern Afghanistan Drains Resources, COIN Suffers

By: Monday December 20, 2010 9:00 am

More Taliban attacks in northern Afghanistan. The south gets the attention and the resources, the north and west deteriorate, and the east — the area most centrally important to the stated al-Qaeda-centric objectives of the war — is in a state of drift, as best I can tell.

Afghanistan: No Withdrawal, No Reconciliation

By: Thursday November 18, 2010 6:40 pm

Obama said it wouldn’t be easy, and it wasn’t – a lot of American and Afghan blood was spilled in order to “break the momentum” and get a seat at the table. And it certainly wasn’t quick, these talks have been in the works for well over a year now. So, how did it go?

Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban, isn’t having any of it…Damn, what’s the problem?

Afghanistan, Year Ten

By: Friday October 8, 2010 5:20 pm

It’s startling to be reminded how long ago 9/11 was because our public figures keep talking about the Afghanistan War like it started last year. General Petraeus let us know back in February in a Meet the Press interview that we were just then getting “the inputs about right,” and were now “starting to see some of the outputs.” Nine years into this war, and Petraeus lets us know they’re just getting warmed up. Good God.

Who’s Really “Relying on Assumptions and Beliefs to Shape Reality” in Afghanistan War Debate?

By: Thursday September 16, 2010 2:55 pm

The Afghanistan Study Group report is out, and the fight is on. A number of critiques have been leveled at the report, one of the most influential being Joshua Foust’s over at Registan.net, chunks of which are percolating upward into larger outlets. Foust is a smart guy with whom I regularly debate, but there’s a particularly offensive landmine hiding at the end of Foust’s post that I want to highlight, where Foust states that the anti-war movement “relies on assumption and beliefs to shape reality”.

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