Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stan's new non-plan

William Lind at does an assessment of Stanley McChrystal's new non-plan for Afghanistan.

He cites several inconsistencies and what he describes as intellectual confusion. Stan's new plan, like his new counterinsurgency manual, was probably written by a committee, so the confusion is built in.

"If you don’t give us more troops, we will fail. But you shouldn’t give us more troops unless we adopt a new strategy, which we don’t have. And even if you do give us the troops we want for the new strategy we haven’t got, they will not be enough to achieve success."

Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Tom Walkom at the Toronto Star says we are chest deep in an Afghan quagmire.

"...[B]ut then this was always an ill-starred conflict.

Portrayed initially as an act of self-defence against the 9/11 terrorists (none of whom were Afghan) it has succeeded only in exporting terror to Pakistan.

The original war aim was to capture Al Qaeda chieftain Osama bin Laden. Nothing less would do.

When in the weeks leading up to the 2001 invasion, Afghanistan's governing Taliban suggested that they would expel him to Pakistan in exchange for peace, their offer was peremptorily rejected.

Now, eight years and hundreds of deaths later, Bin Laden remains at large – apparently (and ironically) in Pakistan."

Those who were against the war from the beginning were called unpatriotic, although that is a much harder sell in Canada where unquestioning patriotism is considered to be an amusing or alarming quirk. Those who suggested talking to the Taliban were called misguided or traitorous, although that strategy is the accepted wisdom now.

Why are the ones who were wrong at first and wrong for so long considered to be wise (like Colin Kenney), while those who saw clearly from the beginning were demonized?

The Cassandra option, I suppose - clearsighted wisdom accompanied by the curse of never being believed.

No comments:

Post a Comment