Monday, September 3, 2012

Epic Fail?

A redux of sorts?

One of King"s War College cat's gives the AFPAK Surge a thrashing - and perhaps Counter Insurgency as well?
The implementation of COIN in Afghanistan was a mistake, even if this has only become apparent in retrospect. It is time to abandon the illusion that an effective counterinsurgency campaign will produce a decisive and apparent strategic victory in Afghanistan.
 Uh, say what now?

Look, COIN was never truly implemented as Great Satan's military architects of the Iraq Surge. And the switch to a counter terrorism tactic has been in form for nearly 18 months. The AFPAK Surge envisioned enough boots on the ground to do the south and the east at the same incredible instant.

For whatever reasons, 44"s mini Surge short cut the troops and the time frame to do the gig. Actually, it is a stunning achievement that Great Satan and a handful of Allies did as well they have - til troop draw downs and countless announcements of unAssing the place took it's toll - discouraging the populace itself, Allies and cats tasked with the mission in the 1st place.
With its political appeal and its apparent soundness, COIN was accepted by political leaders and military officers as the strategy in Afghanistan. Although COIN proponents argued that the counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan would not simply be a replicate of the one in Iraq, in essence it was also a large scale military campaign to win the support of the local population for the host nation government.

 Has the COIN strategy in Afghanistan worked? One way to measure the strategy’s effectiveness is by looking at the death toll of the military personnel who are implementing it. If more U.S. military personnel (the counterinsurgents who are executing the strategy) are killed after its implementation, then the battle for hearts and minds may be said to have failed.
 Spoiler alert - Counter Insurgency is NOT a strategy - it"s a tactic 
The empirical data shows that in the first nine years of the war in Afghanistan, one thousand U.S. military personnel were killed. That same figure of one thousand killed was reached in just the past twenty-seven months after the U.S. officially adopted COIN as the strategy in Afghanistan. In other words, since the time that United States sent thirty-three thousand additional troops as part of the Afghan “surge” and issued guidance to its military forces in Afghanistan to follow the COIN strategy, the number of U.S. troops killed doubled.

The political decision to implement the COIN strategy failed to recognize that more people with more guns on foreign territory cannot win the battle for hearts and minds. COIN, for all its positives, seemed to offer too romantic a notion of what was actually achievable, especially in a large-scale military campaign such as the one that Afghanistan ultimately became. Regardless of whether new U.S. military personnel smiled more or were culturally attune or were more ethically upright or whether they now teamed up with diplomats, aid workers or anthropologists (who normally donned bullet-proof gear and carried weapons), building trust in such an environment was simply impossible.

Pic -  "Epic Fail?"