Mullen Says Campaign for Kandahar Will Take Months

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 6 months ago

From the AP:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is predicting that it’ll be clear by year’s end whether a NATO-led counterinsurgency effort in the Afghan Taliban stronghold of Kandahar is successful.

Adm. Mike Mullen says the Kandahar campaign, which is planned to go forward next month, is vital to turning around the war. He says the southern Afghanistan city is as important to the overall war effort as Baghdad was to the U.S. troop increase in Iraq in 2007.

Mullen says improving security in Kandahar will be important. But he says the key will be improving governance in the city. That’s a reference to the importance of the Afghan government playing a lead role in providing basic services in the area.

Mullen appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Oh good!  For a moment I was worried that we were setting ourselves up for false hopes and expectations, implying that it would take only a few months to pacify a city of a million inhabitants.  Instead of only a few months, we have six.  This makes a world of difference.

Turning the sarcasm off, it may be observed how tired and pedestrian the population-centric counterinsurgency narrative is becoming.  All it takes to pacify a violent population is to give them services.  Bread and circuses, you know.  But our own history, i.e., the war for independence, is filled with the brave actions of morally committed and anchored men who would have willingly given up everything – and indeed many who did so – to fulfill the ultimate end.

As I have discussed before, it will require longer than half a year to accomplish counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, and throwing bread and circuses at the population is worn out and inept doctrine.  Counterinsurgency campaigns are replete with examples of delivery of infrastructure to the population, only to see insurgents destroy it.  Leaving the insurgency alive, or any part of it still kicking, is certain doom for the campaign.  Nothing will pacify the countryside or cities except for death of the insurgency, or said another way, death of the insurgents.

  • TSAlfabet

    spot on.

    Expect news accounts in November and December to examine the campaign in Kandahar and refer to the “stubborn” insurgents and the “wary” populace. “Frustrating” and “seemingly futile” will describe the efforts to pacify the population as journalists scratch their collective heads, mystified that despite billions of dollars of aid “poured into the city” the insurgency seems to roll along unabated. Articles will be written describing increasing morale problems among U.S. troops and old officers will be found who saw action in Vietnam to comment on whether we are in the same “quagmire” in A-stan.

    And expect the One to express the same sort of frustration with Karzai that he does with BP over the oil spill. It will all seem so…. out of control… beyond comprehending. The C-in-C will declare that he is on top of the situation even as he blames the military and Bush for the failure to win in 6 months with half the troops needed to do the job.

  • Warbucks

    You just slip out the back, Jack
    Make a new plan, Stan
    You don’t need to be coy, Roy
    Just get yourself free
    Hop on the bus, Gus
    You don’t need to discuss much
    Just drop off the key, Lee
    And get yourself free

    This is where the bus is heading guys…… even if it runs out of gas in route.


You are currently reading "Mullen Says Campaign for Kandahar Will Take Months", entry #5063 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Kandahar and was published June 1st, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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