12 August 2009

We’ve gone too far…

Today, Dave Dilegge, editor of Small Wars Journal, made quite an unusual post in SWJ regarding the recent explosion of posts on Afghanistan strategy (which we've discussed ad nauseam this week).

Okay, everyone who's anyone - and many who think they're someone – inside and outside the beltway - has chimed in - did I miss anyone? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

The Afghanistan affair is quite complicated; we know that, we also can study it to death and comment until the cows come home.

How about a novel approach at this particular point in time - give the Commander in Chief, the National Command Authority, State... and most importantly, the Commanding General and his staff in Afghanistan some efing breathing room to sort this out? The guys on the ground - get it?

How much is too much?

For the all the hype about the benefits of instantaneous global communications and Web 2.0 - of which we most certainly are a part - we've never really examined the tipping point - the place where we become part of the problem, rather than the solution.

My two cents - and while it may come across as way, way too simplistic to many of the

2K-pound brainiacs I run into around town - you can take it to the bank that a general backing off of the noise level would be most beneficial right now.

Now, I shouldn't be one to talk, since I've certainly contributed to this phenomenon (Afghanistan Shrugged, parts One and Two). However, the milblog community is kind of funny in how interconnected we really are. Last week, the military blogosphere was filled with stories and calls to action about the military's senior leadership and Web 2.0 sites—sort of self-perpetuating series of stories linked to and fed by milbloggers. This week, the hot item among the milbloggers is the debate over Afghanistan's strategic importance.

As Zenpundit pointed out the other day, there may not have been a debate before, but there certainly is now. (Even the New York Times seemed to echo the dramatic increase in posts questioning Afghan strategy just in the past week alone).

It's not limited to simply the military blogosphere, either, as the mainstream media—New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy Online—have also been weighing in on the various debates. Whether the milbloggers are taking cues from the mainstream media or whether the mainstream media is taking its cues from the milbloggers is anyone's guess, although I'd say it's a little bit of both.

Granted, the strategic question regarding Afghanistan isn't new—it was asked, most notably, by Colonel TX Hammes in an article in SWJ about two years ago. While I think that it's good that we are finally starting to pay attention to Afghanistan, I can certainly see how the sudden outburst of articles and analysis from inside and outside the beltway—only now that the war in Afghanistan is eight years old--can be a little annoying, to say the least.

So, in the interests of Dave's sanity, I'm going to post something completely unrelated to Afghanistan: a Megan Fox picture. See:

Yes, Megan Fox is a perfect analogy for us in the military and foreign policy arena. Like the military, she's incredibly awesome, and can do many amazing things under the right circumstances (i.e., turn Transformers into an awesome movie). Nevertheless, there are some things that military power can't fix without a much grander strategic picture and the assistance of all aspects of military power. Similarly, there are some things that even Megan Fox can't fix, such as Transformers 2, without a grander strategic framework (known as "coherent plot")

Seriously, they exit the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and suddenly, in the back yard of the Air and Space Museum, there are mountains in the distance and broken-down C-130s and ancient fighter jets as far as they eye can see. In Washington, DC.

Because this portion was inexplicably filmed, I think, in "The Boneyard" of Arizona.


J. said...

I don't think the Afghan strat talk should be unexpected at all. Given that Obama had asked for a strategy review and that McChrystal was supposed to have delivered one by now, the absence of official policy is causing a backlash of frustrated pundits to say, well, how hard could this be, this is how I would do it...

Obama's let the domestic agenda dominate his time too much. He's let the Bush administration's strategy continue by interia, and that's bothering to people. So we bitch about it. Passes the time.

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