Bing West’s Inconvenient Truth?

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , , , , ,

Well, let’s not sugar-coat things here: Bing West thinks our counterinsurgency strategy has failed.  Not lost its way, failed.

From the NYT:

He flatly says that the counterinsurgency strategy behind the war — trying to win over the Afghans by protecting them from the Taliban and building roads, schools and civil institutions — is a failure.

Failure is such a harsh word.  But let’s back things up with a question:

“The question isn’t what the Marines or the Army do, the question is, why are they doing it, and what’s the end state?” Mr. West said.

At least two of the lessons of Stephen Covey apply to military ops here (as well as almost everything else in this world): begin with the end in mind and put first things first. 

In Mr. West’s view, counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan is a feel-good, liberal theology that is turning the United States military into the Peace Corps and undermining its “core competency” — violence.

He accuses Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, of “political drivel” for repeatedly saying that the military cannot kill its way to victory.

As has been suggested to me, one of the harsh lessons of war is you must kill enough to deter the rest.

(West’s) argument is greeted with exasperation by the staff of Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, where United States troops have aggressively stepped up night raids to capture or kill insurgents, particularly since the fall.

So if the strategy is to ‘aggressively step up’ efforts to capture or kill insurgents, is that recognition West’s assessment is on-target?





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