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”.

Afghanistan: Law Enforcement Approach “Mucks Up Our Strategic Interests”

By: Monday September 13, 2010 9:05 am

I’ve been tracking the debate within the Administration over whether we should tolerate corruption in Afghanistan in the name of sustaining a war against someone–anyone–in Afghanistan or not for some weeks. Underlying the entire debate is the fact that our goals in Afghanistan–which started as a pursuit of those who struck us on 9/11 and [...]

Return of a Misleading Metric

By: Sunday September 5, 2010 2:00 pm

Leave it to Josh Foust to tease out the implications of some of my reporting better than I did. Not only is ISAF re-highlighting its (apparently) civilian-casualty-free airstrikes, but it’s also letting the public know more about special-forces activity than it (I gather) ever has. Last month, Gen. Petraeus shared with me some rather detailed information about 90 days in the life of Special Operations Forces, including how many insurgents and insurgent leaders they had killed and captured. The AP’s rock-star war correspondent, Kimberly Dozier, takes a look at the data and assesses that Petraeus is releasing the material in order to convince people the war is going well.

$547 Million Can’t Paper Over Failure of Afghanistan War

By: Friday September 3, 2010 3:20 pm

The Pentagon’s public relations machine is working overtime these days trying to sell a theme of “progress” in Afghanistan to push back against calls to end the war. The message machine behind this push is gargantuan, costing $547 million and employing more than 27,000 people. But, as our latest Rethink Afghanistan video shows, all that wasted P.R. money can’t paper over the fact that the Afghanistan War isn’t making us safer, and it’s not worth the cost.

Afghanistan: Hearts and Minds and Blood and Anger

By: Friday August 27, 2010 4:25 pm

War is not politics, it is violence – murder – on an enormous scale. It does not lead to democracy, security, or good governance, it leads to anger, humiliation, and above all else, more violence.

Who’s the Huckster for This High-Interest War?

By: Wednesday August 25, 2010 6:00 am

On college campuses, credit card companies entice naive undergrads into signing up for super-high-interest-rate credit cards by giving away “perceived high-value items” like t-shirts or coffee mugs. They’re called perceived high value items because they really aren’t worth as much as people assume. Their only purpose is to distract from the terrible terms in the [...]

America’s Broken Response to Pakistan

By: Wednesday August 18, 2010 7:10 pm

The ability for the United States to project power abroad – to protect its national security interests – is broken

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