"Several officials said McChrystal's assessment of shortfalls in Afghanistan will be outlined in broad terms, citing the need to expand and train the Afghan force along with proposed solutions to make that happen.
In addition to trainers and advisers, he is also expected to outline organizational changes for U.S. troops and the need for enhanced language, intelligence and other skills.
McChrystal, who has spent most of his career in special operations units, is backing a proposal by Adm. Eric T. Olson, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, to replace the current Navy and Air Force commanders of at least half of the 12 U.S. provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan with Special Operations officers who served previous tours in Afghanistan and have training in at least one of its two languages, Dari and Pashto. " Washpost
"Counterinsurgency" as a developed modern doctrine of warfare was created in the aftermath of World War II as a system of defense against "Wars of National Liberation" that erupted across the world as various peoples rose against European colonialism. The French in Indochina and Algeria, the British in Malaya, Cyprus, Palestine/Israel, etc. were among the foremost developers of this doctrine. In its fullest form the doctrine can be reduced to three basic elements; 1-Political warfare designed to eliminate the symbolic causes of revolt. This would include such efforts as a reduction of public corruption, adequate representation in government for all parts of the population, etc. 2- Economic development that provides incomes sufficiently large for the masses so that they are not inclined to risk the hazards of support for insurgents. 3- Counterguerrilla operations. Such operations must be a hazard for the insurgents and NOT for the population. We have not been doing well at that in Afghanistan. These counterguerrilla operations are conducted so as to provide a protective "screen" behind which "1" and "2" can occur.
Basically what is attempted in this doctrine is the construction of a society that is more attractive and viable than that promised by the insurgents. This is a big job, especially in a country like Afghanistan where much of what has to be done has not been done before. "Education" alone, "education" in the Western sense will be a massive long term project. IMO, the whole counterinsurgency thing, if applied successfully in Afghanistan will require a commitment of a century of effort by dedicated civilian and military personnel and many, many billions of dollars. A perhaps minor (not to me) effect of such efforts is that generations of very specialized officers and civilian officials are always produced to man such programs. These people inevitably come to empathize with "the natives" to some extent and are likely to find that the better they are at their work, the more suspicious their own side will be of them.
"Counterinsurgency" made some sense for the European colonial empires. They "owned" the places where they tried this method. They were fighting to retain what they saw as their property. Whatever "investments" they made in the colony seemed worthwhile because they would be retained in the empire. The US tried applying these methods in various post-colonial settings with varying success. In Latin America, there was a good deal of success in the '60s. In Vietnam one can argue endlessly over the results. In all the American attempts, one thing was universally true. The US had no intention of retaining control of the area under contention. The Left will argue that this is untrue, but they are wrong.
In Iraq, the US has gained nothing of economic value and is rapidly surrendering control of the governance of Iraq to a government that is not truly friendly. The outcome of last week's oil service contract auction should be instructive to those who think the US (as opposed to the looters granted no-bid contracts to batten on US money) has gained anything of value in Iraq. And how much have we spent there to date? How high is the butcher's bill as of today?
It is the same in Afghanistan. Fantasize all you like… There is nothing in Aghanistan that the US wants or needs other than the ability to disrupt Al-Qa'ida's further plotting against our own soil.
As I wrote earlier this week, there is a massive subterranean fire burning in the US government between two factions. These are; those generals who have now embraced "Counterinsurgency" and nation building as an acceptable and "clever" think to do, the neocons (still seeking the path to revolution in the Islamic World), and various pseudo-academic "experts on counterinsurgency." On the other hand there are those who think a US Counterinsurgency War in Afghanistan makes no sense at all. Why? Too much money! Too long! Too much blood! We are now too poor for such foolishness. And for what? So that American can further beggar itself?
President Obama should think long and hard about General McChrystal's conversion to nation building.
It would be sad to see Obama leave office as a one term president. As the man said "Look homeward angel." Look homeward. pl