A Strange New Respect for our Afghan Policy?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 9 months ago

I’m sorry to steal Paul’s Mirengoff’s thunder (i.e., post title), but it’s too good to pass up.

Fareed Zakaria contends that a troop surge is not necessary in Afghanistan because we’re succeeding there. Our central objective, he notes, is to deny al Qaeda the means to reconstitute, to train, and to plan major terrorist attacks. In this, says Zakaria, we have been successful for the past eight years.

Zakaria’s position is a plausible one and we have flirted with it on Power Line. But was Zakaria this sanguine about Afghanistan when Barack Obama and other opportunistic leftists were attacking President Bush for allowing the situation there to become “dire” while the U.S. focused on Iraq? Or does Zakaria’s assessment depend on which party occupies the White House?

In either case, Zakaria’s analysis, though plausible, is not terribly persuasive. He assumes the situation in Afghanistan is sufficiently static that the status quo will be maintained if the U.S. simply maintains present troops level. But war tends not to work that way. The U.S. may elect to stand still in Afghanistan but it’s unlikely that the other players will. For example, tribes and their leaders surely are trying to determine whether the U.S. is committed to defeating the Taliban and protecting local populations. If they conclude we are not, they are likely to gravitate towards the Taliban, to the detriment of the U.S.

Al Qaeda is also watching from across the border in Pakistan. If Zakaria is correct that the Pakistanis are stepping up their efforts against al Qaeda, then we can expect that elements of that terrorist outfit will gravitate back to Afghanistan if the U.S. is unwilling to surge and the situation contines to deteriorate. Worse, a weakened U.S. position in Afghanistan might well produce gains for al Qaeda in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. For, as the Washington Post concluded after interviewing Pakistan’s foreign minister, the Pakistanis are unlikely to persevere against al Qaeda if they see the U.S. falter.

Fareed Zakaria is little more than a court jester, a clown in a funny costume performing funny antics.  It has always been this way.  Paul’s brief analysis is the only thing that is plausible – that is, that this is all politically motivated.  The Captain’s Journal hates it when war is politicized at home when real leadership is needed and the lives of our warriors is at stake.  Paul is wrong.  It is wholly implausible that what Zakaria says is correct.

Having been said so many times before it probably doesn’t bear repeating, but it will be anyway by quoting Bruce Riedel.

One more thing: the view that you can win the war against al-Qaeda by just bombing al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan–you don’t think that can work, do you?


That’s part of the fairy tale?

That’s part of the fairy tale. We are doing a brilliant tactical job in degrading al-Qaeda today in Pakistan. It depends upon an intricate network of intelligence sources. At any time that network could start to dry up. At any time al-Qaeda could change operational procedures which would make it harder. Al-Qaeda operates in a syndicate of terror in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It swims among these groups: the Afghan Taliban, the Pak Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and others. And for eight years now, it has been able to successfully operate there by swimming in this environment. The notion that you can somehow selectively resolve the al-Qaeda problem while ignoring the larger jihadist sea in which [al-Qaeda] swims has failed in the past and will fail in the future. That’s what President Pervez Musharraf tried to do in Pakistan and it failed utterly. That, in many ways, is what [former President George W.] Bush and [former Vice President Dick] Cheney tried to do and it failed utterly. It’s a fairy tale, and it’s a prescription for disaster.

Speaking of swimming in the environment of the Pashtun region, commenter rrk3 observes:

I love the way the adminstration is now saying we can seperate the Taliban from al-Qaeda when the evidence to the contrary is right in front of everyone to see. The Taliban are actually laughing at at impudence because they know exactly how to exploit our tactical and now strategic policies.

It does look like that Pakistanis are going into South Wazeristan. We need to prepare for an influx of fighters from the FATA and hopefully meet some of the coming across the border.

Kinetic operations are a precourser to a successful COIN strategy not the other way around. It is better to have fewer insurgents to protect the people from. The only way to do this is to meet the insurgents in the field.

rrk3 and Bruce Riedel know what The Captain’s Journal knows.  There is no border, and AQ swims freely amongst the Taliban everywhere, stolid claims to the contrary.`

  • GarryGardner1978

    real good read thants for the post

You are currently reading "A Strange New Respect for our Afghan Policy?", entry #4018 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,al Qaeda,Taliban and was published October 13th, 2009 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (677)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (31)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (7)
Ammunition (22)
Animals in War (4)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (66)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (41)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (26)
Australian Army (5)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (49)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (17)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (2)
Blogs (5)
Body Armor (17)
Books (2)
Border War (7)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (27)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (2)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (10)
Christmas (8)
CIA (12)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (2)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (215)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (122)
Department of Homeland Security (13)
Disaster Preparedness (2)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (6)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (1)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (3)
Featured (176)
Federal Firearms Laws (17)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (445)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (14)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (40)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (7)
Georgia (19)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (397)
Guns (929)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (7)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (11)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (13)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (45)
India (10)
Infantry (3)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (22)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (169)
Iraq (378)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (38)
Islamists (58)
Israel (18)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (77)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (2)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (2)
Lawfare (6)
Leadership (5)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (49)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (240)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
Media (23)
Memorial Day (2)
Mexican Cartels (23)
Mexico (30)
Michael Yon (5)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (3)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (3)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (10)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (16)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (17)
NATO (15)
Navy (20)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (1)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (53)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (216)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (6)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (28)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (2)
Police (200)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (237)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (106)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (74)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (28)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (158)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (24)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (17)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (2)
Survival (12)
SWAT Raids (53)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (1)
Tactical Gear (1)
Taliban (167)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (16)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (92)
Thanksgiving (5)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (12)
TSA Ineptitude (10)
TTPs (1)
U.S. Border Patrol (5)
U.S. Border Security (13)
U.S. Sovereignty (14)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (3)
Uncategorized (42)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (2)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (210)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (3)
War Reporting (18)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (57)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (17)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2016 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.