Gringo Lost

Words about things and stuff

America’s lame-duck war

with 2 comments

I had set out yesterday to write a post about the General McChrystal fallout but at-once decided against it. Mainly because I felt there was nothing I could say that other news agencies weren’t already saying. But also because it was a frustrating ordeal. I put a lot of faith in the U.S. government to make reasoned decisions. This may be a little naive but I like to think the country’s leadership are professional civil servants.

That’s why the Rolling Stone article and the debacle that followed was so disheartening. For one, I have already voice my opinions about President Obama’s reluctance to make hard choices about the Afghan war. Last November at the conclusion of his strategy review, President Obama opted for a middle-of-the-road approach, which was neither a small-scale counter-terrorism mission or a large-scale counter-insurgency operation. This was regarded by most as a bad approach that would only postpone the inevitable while putting U.S. service men and women at risk. I felt it was the most irresponsible decision of his presidency.

Now comes the recent McChrystal news. Sadly, this is just another in a long line of poor decisions and irresponsible behavior by the civil servants in charge of this war.

To illustrate, through this blog’s series on the 8 best generals of the industrial warfare era (see parts I, II, III, and IV), we have begun to identify some running themes which contribute to successful war effort. 1) is the knowledge of key intelligence and the ability to understand the context and circumstances in which you fight – to take the “big picture” view; 2) the ability to mobilize the nation’s resources for the war front. And 3) a strong relationship and shared vision between the political leadership and military leadership.

But none of these exist in America’s Afghan campaign.


2 Responses

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  1. Very well said. I agree with you.

    Alex McCutchin

    June 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

  2. I agree too. At first My first response to the article was that some weasel didn’t have much new to say and put some inflammatory quotes in to get some recognition. To some extent i still think this, but McChrystal’s inability to work with his counterparts (no matter their motivations etc) is more than worrisome. I have always had less faith in civil servants than you seem to have had, but I would expect more generalship from McChrystal (and others), especially with what’s at stake.
    I have no doubt that it is a symptom of the frustration at the way the system is set up, the hand-tieing that ALL of these people have to deal with to do their job, and with the lack of a clear vision in Afghanistan and in America’s overall defense strategy.
    Does this expose help with the war effort on an operational level? I think that will not help. But it may shine some light on the fact that there are problems with the way it is being run, Obama’s decisions may not be corralled by the opinions of some generals, and hopefully a new concept of victory will be considered. but i doubt it.


    June 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

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