02 November 2009

Your Counterinsurgency of the Day

The recent, drastic increase in casualties in Afghanistan--over 1,000 killed or wounded in the last three months--is, unfortunately, par for the course when conducting full-blown counterinsurgency. To steal T.E. Lawrence's old quote, it is slow, and it is incredibly messy, especially when done properly.

It also serves as a great source of partisan in-fighting. Take House Minority Leader John Boehner, who said:

"We've had the highest casualty troops in years over the last month or two. Why? Because of all the uncertainty around what the president is going to decide."

Nice try, but it's nowhere near close. The increase in casualties might be more due to a.) a series of aircraft crashes last week, b.) the battle at COP Keating, c.) a massive offensive in Helmand province by British troops and US Marines this summer, and d.) an increase in the number of NATO troops and their tendency to conduct a large number of dismounted patrols. (These sorts of patrols, while risky, pay off immensely, and are far more successful than the Super-FOB strategy or the "commute to war" approach)

Indeed, I don't mind President Obama taking his time reviewing the potential Afghan strategy. As Sun-Tzu was quick to point out, war is the most serious affair of the state, and should only be conducted after great deliberation. Even those who love to talk about their quick "OODA Loops" must realize that if we don't get the "orient" phase right, your OODA Loop will look more like an OODA scribble. Okay, that analogy was really, really bad, but you get the point.

Kris Alexander had the quote of the day on this issue, posting in Small Wars Journal.

Maybe after eight years of Bush everyone has forgotten what a deliberative planning process looks like. I am refreshed by an actual decision making process versus cooking the books to support a "gut" decision.


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/03/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

courtneyme109 said...


J. said...

Rep. Boner (no, that's not a typo) has to denegrate the Dem leadership at least twice a day, and if that involves lying about military strategy, health care, or how many Repubs have screwed around on their wives, he's on it.

The Repub party will literally have to burn to the ground before it gets rid of all the stupid, lazy, and worthless people in its party of "no."