10 years ago
From The Australian:
AUSTRALIA’S defence chiefs are already reconciled to a long-term Australian military presence in Afghanistan.
Yesterday’s announcement of a return of special forces to Afghanistan confirms that that country remains at the centre of Australia’s military contribution to the global jihadist war.
The SAS and the commandos are essential to ensuring that our engineers and trade specialists can go about their civic rebuilding tasks with the support of localAfghans. The ground forces are sustained by headquarters, intelligence and logistics staff, as well as vital air support, bringing the total size of the force to at least 1000.
The experience of the past few months has shown that without aggressive, long-range patrolling and intelligence gathering by Australian special forces, the threat posed by Taliban insurgents in Oruzgan province will soon rebound. Tight rules of engagement for a number of NATO countries, including The Netherlands, inhibit their combat forces from taking on the Taliban in offensive operations.
We will revisit this last sentence in a few moments. In a recent article in Harper’s Magazine, defense policy expert Edward Luttwak weighs in on the current conflict in Iraq in an interesting article entitled Dead End: Counterinsurgency Warfare as Military Malpractice. After recognizing that involvement of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and effective political machinations are necessary for victory in any counterinsurgency, he makes the following observation that becomes seminal for his article.
Much more questionable is the proposition that follows, which is presented as self-evident, that a necessary if not sufficient condition of victory is to provide what the insurgents cannot: basic public services, physical reconstruction, the hope of economic development and social amelioration. The hidden assumption here is that there is only one kind of politics in this world, a politics in which popular support is important or even decisive, and that such support can be won by providing better government. Yet the extraordinary persistence of dictatorships as diverse in style as the regimes of
Cuba, Libya, North Korea, and Syria shows that in fact government needs no popular support as long as it can secure obedience. As for better government, that is certainly wanted in France, Norway, or the United States, but obviously not in Afghanistan or Iraq, where many people prefer indigenous and religious oppression to the freedoms offered by foreign invaders.
The very word “guerrilla,