I agree, true victory cannot be temporary. However, I think the victory we invaded Afghanistan for, is no-longer the true victory; the true victory mutated into building a sturdy table from rotten wood.
We could spend decades pointing out and debating the many failures of the previous American regimes, in regards to Afghanistan; as we've missed warnings starting from the retreat of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of Civil War, that our patronage and blessings will come back to haunt us.Quite frankly, the lack of post-regime planning in Iraq and Afghanistan raise very serious military leadership (vision) and doctrine (components of war planning) questions. That such planning did not take place or was ineffectual if it did in two medium-sized wars suggests that the matter is not mere coincidence.
The reality is that we're fighting the very same war from a very different side.
Problems are only answers, backwards. It's solvable.That is a real problem.
Not just the "History" of Afghanistan, but the "Histories" of Afghanistan. Kabul witnessed a coup in early 80's/ late 70's, but the majority of Afghanistan didn't give it a second thought until things started getting heated (and their coffers started filling with American wealth).My point is that the military needs to have a big-picture understanding of the conflict at hand. In the absence of such an understanding, they can lose sight of the importance of achieving the objectives set forth, fail to understand the nature of the threats/risks involved--and in Afghanistan, things are very complex and dynamic--fail to appreciate possible scenarios/developments that could emerge, etc. A very strong understanding of the history, the structure of Afghan society, and changes that have taken place in Afghanistan since the British and Soviet military efforts there are crucial to developing a coherent and credible military plan.
I still feel that we, including the academic and researchers, still have a fairly poor understand "Taliban". We are reaching for the pragmatic facets of the term, without really understanding the extent of the pragmatism. Sometimes the situation appears as an A.Q. and Mullah Omar Inc. hostage situation; sometimes the situation appears as legions of Pro-AQ warriors, ready to fight and die.History suggested that a resurgence of Taliban attacks was all but certain. Afghanistan's domestic structure suggested that placing faith in a central government was a questionable proposition.
It also appears that many FATA and Afghani tribesmen call A.Q. "foreigners", and (if I am not mistaken) Pakistan's military gets results about dead A.Q. operatives from tribesmen who reports me amount of "foreigners" killed in the battle. We have a habit of grouping people together in our minds, and it turns into real problems on the battlefield.
There's another mountainous region that at one point faced a very similar problem (ethnic diversity, mountainous region, powerful states on their flanks). The Nation-State of Switzerland, might be able to teach us how to deal with the situation.Instead, the planning rested on three badly flawed assumptions:
1. Regime change in Afghanistan could immediately lead to a stable, democratic, pluralistic society (neoconservative outlook that is overly idealistic)
2. A central government could readily gain legitimacy and take charge in Afghanistan
3. Modern technology rendered the need for sizable manpower and the historic experience of the British and Soviets obsolete
Poor Planning, Wishful Assumptions. Don't forget that similar circumstances built the United States; It was the extent of circumstance and allies that allowed our bunch of rebels/forefathers to succeed.Contrary to what has become a sorry litany of excuses flowing from Afghanistan, I believe it is those three flawed assumptions that have done much to produce the present outcome. The outcome is as much a product of bad planning/poor understanding/wishful assumptions as it is anything that the Taliban have done.
But I wouldn't put too much weight on this comparison, you'll liable to fall.
It's true. We have to be realistic. No more Star Wars.Hopefully, given the stakes involved, the new strategy will cast aside those three assumptions and work with the Afghanistan that is, not the one that is wished for.
"I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann
The one successful counterinsurgency operation that comes to mind that was done by a modern democracy was Malaysia. You could possible say the Troubles too, but that's a bit more complicated. The British won Malaysia by small mobile operations, and by winning over the allegiances of the tribes and especially of the Chinese squatters. It was Hearts and Minds in many ways. Do you count that?Again, let's see some examples that prove you correct. Thanks in advance.
Please, be specific, because that's an idiotic notion.
As to the other example of stopping an insurgency is Syria with the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Assad surrounded their stronghold of Hama and bombed it into the ground, then ended up torturing and massacring many of the survivors.
What is a third way of dealing with an insurgency that has worked?
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet the Makeout Hobo, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).