‘My one problem with the article is that it assumes that the counterinsurgent desires peace, and that this is the goal of any counterinsurgency campaign. But I suspect that for many people, the central goal of the American COIN campaign in Iraq in 2007-08 was to extricate the U.S. military from Iraq in a way that didn’t look like the Americans were just running away. I think that if that was indeed the case then, whatever ultimately happens in Iraq, then the 2007-08 COIN campaign succeeded’
“As Andrew Exum has pointed out, the whole issue of the U.S. relationship with the host country is fraught, especially because the desired outcome is different from the colonial goals of the countries on whose COIN experience the U.S. military has drawn most from, Britain and France of the 1950s and 1960s. The British and French were fighting to stay. We are fighting to leave, albeit leaving behind a friendly government, which I am not sure is possible, especially in the Mideast, if that government is to last.”
Our author argues that the political and diplomatic forces potentially moving the war in Afghanistan away from COIN (counterinsurgency tactics) are potentially misguided.
‘Even if Obama ultimately chooses to switch to the riskier but less costly approach labeled “counterterrorism,” the sustainability of this effort would depend on someone else countering the Taliban insurgency.’
The conventional wisdom says that McChrystal needed to design a plan that worked after years of few resources and an unclear mission in Afghanistan. Obama went with Mchrystal’s COIN until his firing. Where are we headed now? Where is the European support? How is morale? How is the relationship between the Pentagon and the White House?
“By systematically attacking insurgents’ strongholds, an army can erode insurgent combat power, overturn the narrative that the insurgency is winning, and ultimately compel the insurgents to compromise. Military force in this case becomes instrumental.”
in order to arrive at a conclusion thus:
“For the first time since the United States intervened in Afghanistan in 2001, it is possible to outline a coherent political-military plan that would yield, if not a clear-cut victory, at least an outcome that enhances U.S. security.”
An exit? A long-term plan to protect our security interests?