Friday, December 2, 2011

Twin Surges


Separated by just a few mins at Joyeuex Anniversaire time, it was eons before cats could tell them apart. Before tossing a quarter to determine who went brune or blonde and kept the matching cuffs and collars - they could easily pass for each other - even amidst colleagues of long standing.

Yet they are totally diff critters in any and all avenues (Vertrauen'st du mir schatzen - ich weiß)

May such stunning social commentary be applied to COIN in Iraq and AFPAK?

Yes! Maybe, kinda sorta - 

As all the cool kids know - "Surge" is kinda code for battling an insurgency.  Original Surge in the land Atwixt the 2 Rivers was a tactical success - P4 saved a mostly lost war in Iraq w/ a  counterinsurgency doctrine that helped win over the population, as the Surge in troops gave greater sec to Iraq’s gov and military. 

Despite occasional violence, fewer Americans have been killed in Iraq in 2011 (53 in the most recent count) than in any year since the invasion — a quiet that could end with the departure of all American troops soon.

AFPAK Surge is a totally diff critter as the "Soulful Battle" - "War is the poppa of us all" cat l'academe shares...
By 2009, Afghanistan was spiraling out of control and seemed in need of a similar troop surge. 44 reluctantly agreed to send 20,000 reinforcements. Two prominent veterans of the Iraq turnaround, Petraeus and Marine general James Mattis, eventually took over command of the war and the surrounding theater to seek a repeat of what they had helped accomplish in Iraq.  

 Yet despite better security in some provinces, a general reduction in violence, and a decline this year in American fatalities, public support for the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time low. The violent country still remains about eight times more deadly to American troops than is Iraq.
Soooo - why cause Original Surge rocked yet AFPAK Surge is all discombobulated?

Lack of commensurate diplomatic support.
In Iraq, Amb. Ryan Crocker worked closely with Petraeus and the Iraqi government to integrate civilian and military strategy. That sort of cohesion — until the recent dispatch of Crocker to Afghanistan — was lacking in 2009 and 2010. Instead, endemic squabbling between American ambassadors, the Afghan government, Great Satan"s military, and regional State Department diplomatic czars hampered unity of purpose.

Afghanistan ain't Iraq Captain Obvious - and alla fake believe chiz bout Good War/Bad War was always an LOLable, fake argument.
 Afghanistan poses far more challenges than Iraq. Whereas Iraq has billions of dollars in state oil revenue, impoverished Afghan gangs export opium. Iraqis are part of the larger Arab world, living in its most strategically important area. Afghans are far more isolated and less critical to the world economy.
Flat, arid, and clear-skied Iraq is accessible by sea and ideal for air operations. Landlocked Afghanistan is mountainous and hard to supply, with a harsh climate and often stormy weather. A nuclear and duplicitous Pakistan plays far more havoc than did even Iraq’s meddling neighbors. Iraq has a stronger secular tradition, and its population is mostly literate. Afghanistan is far more fundamentalist and tribal, with well over half the population illiterate.

Addition'l diff betwixt the Twin Surges too.

As what vClausewitz nom d'guerres as the handmaiden of politics hookup, Original Surge was ordered by 43 - who, as best understood - was not about to lose a war he initiated. 43 was a true believer that birthin' baby democracy in Iraq was not our first, but last choice. It was not a good option, only a bad one when the other alternatives sucked far worse. What Great Satan is trying to do in the ME is costly, easily made fun of and unappreciated. So? Constitutional gov is one course that might someday free Middle Easterners from kidnappings, suicide bombers and dictators in Ray Bans.
That's in our interest and theirs alike.
As soon as 44 announced his own Afghan surge, he also promised to set dates for withdrawal. Fairly or not, both our military and the enemy concluded that American departure, rather than securing the country, was the overriding concern.
4 diff generals have commanded operations in Afghanistan in a span of less than three years — a far different scenario than P4"s continued tenure during the Surge in Iraq. Americans are also tiring of the war: When P4 took over in Iraq, we had been at war almost four years; 2011 saw the 10th anniversary of an exhausting war in Afghanistan.
Finally, we still do not know all the reasons that Iraq quieted in 2008 and 2009. There may have been ancillary factors for the surge’s success. A steady increase in Iraqi oil revenues helped. In 2006, well before the surge, many fed-up Sunni leaders had abruptly joined Americans and turned on the murderous terrorists in their midst. And by 2007, Americans had cumulatively killed thousands of foreign hajies, proxies, home grown ex-Ba"Athists and Mahdi Army JAM Especial Groups.
Adding more troops and changing tactics might not have been the entire story of success in Iraq. A surge alone in Afghanistan likewise may not so easily turn things around without other such positive developments.
Continuity of American command, an ironclad commitment from the president to finish the job, diplomatic and military unity, and far more help from everyday Afghans are critical to the surge. Without all that, more troops and better tactics still will not bring the sort of success that we saw in Iraq. 
Pic - "Surge Baby Surge!"