It is about the war in Afghanistan, the good war. We have now gone over 1,000 deaths for US Service personnel serving there—plus Foreign Service Offices (FSOs), Civil Servants and Contractor Personnel. Then there are the other NATO troops who have died there. And al Qaeda. And the Taliban. And, of course those who are non-combatants, although some, at least, are aiding one side or the other.
Then there is the article by Ms Ann Marlowe, who has been to Afghanistan as a reporter a number of times. Here lede is:
Our strategy and tactics in Afghanistan, both of which make sense in theory, no longer apply.It is this second article that caused a retired flag officer to put forward the question:
This is getting more and more similar to another COIN enterprise thirty-five years ago, with corruption at the highest levels, crumbling defense forces, inability to stand alone…. We have a Wall dedicated to Americans who gave their lives for that adventure. Was it worth it? How long can Congress and the American People endure?For the record, I think we are not yet at the "breaking point".
Maybe containment is the fall-back position, like we “contain” North Korea (more or less). It’s a strategy some think we should have taken with Iraq. It worked with the USSR (more or less).
At what point does Congress refuse funding?
However, we are at the point that someone in DoD needs to get together with someone in DOS and talk about the possible futures that might unfold. This would be a series of branches off of today, looking at how external factors as well as internal factors might cause players to change directions. For example, if Korea goes from 46 dead sailors to a conventional war, the US might give up on the soft approach of counterinsurgency and go to a mailed fist. On the other hand, if Korea goes hot China might try to turn up the heat in Afghanistan and we might say, great, YOUR problem.
Does anyone out there have a view on the next ten years in Afghanistan?
Regards — Cliff