"In a 63-page paper representing his personal views, but reflecting conversations with other officers who have served in Afghanistan,Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis argues that it is already too late for U.S. forces to defeat the insurgency.
"Many experts in and from Afghanistan warn that our presence over the past eight years has already hardened a meaningful percentage of the population into viewing the United States as an army of occupation which should be opposed and resisted," writes Davis.
Providing the additional 40,000 troops that Gen. McChrystal has reportedly requested "is almost certain to further exacerbate" that problem, he warns.
Davis was a liaison officer between the Combined Forces Command – Afghanistan (CFC-A) and the Central Command in 2005, just as the Afghan insurgency was becoming a significant problem for the U.S. military. In that assignment he both consulted with the top U.S. officers and staff of the CFC-A and traveled widely throughout Afghanistan visiting U.S. and NATO combat units.
He also commanded a U.S. military transition team on the Iraqi border with Iran in 2008-09. " Gareth Porter
I find Lt Colonel Davis' views on the subject to be a beneficial contribution to the present debate although I am not willing to accept a long term commitment quite as large as that which he finds necessary and I would not have used
"Jack Bauer" as an example for anything. pl
Thank you for letting us access this important analysis, perhaps one that General Mac.. should have submitted as another alternative to President Obama.
While I am not capable of crticizing this excellent analisys, I note that Lt. Colonel Davis has omited any reference to the 2011 withdrawal of Canada’s contribution in Afganistan, and did not note the almost certain withdrawal of UK after the lelction due to finacial considerations regardless of the winner of the election.
Againthank for posting!
“One of the most serious problems affecting the people of Afghanistan is the absence of hope. Hope in a viable Afghan state, hope in the prospects for a good life, hope that they can have justice.”
Justice, not freedom, is the fulcrum of Islamic culture. The quote comes from “Mr. Rahimi”, the Afghan LTC Davis sources; I’ve never heard an American official refer to this. I could go on endlessly on the importance of this absolutely fundamental difference between the world outlook of traditional Muslim society and modern, secular democracy, but what would be the point?
I hope people read this document.
Is this the 21st century format and means of dissemination for a military alternative proposal, like the kind submitted by Erich von Manstein in 1940?
The fact that all this is done in public is absolutely astonishing. Such would have surely doomed the Manstein Plan, that’s for sure!
DoD data on fuel costs in Afganistan supports L. Colonel Davis’ strategy; plese read:
I am not sure exactly what this is in the sense that you mean.
Gareth Porter told me that Davis sent him and a number of “other people” this paper saying that his “boss” in DIA had approved its release on the basis of it not containing classified information. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. An officer assigned or attached to DIA would normally have to submit such a paper to the appropriate release office within DIA where, in my admittedly somewhat dated experience, the paper would have caused a stir and been sent to the tope for approval of the release. Why? Davis’s head is full of classified information which forms the context of this work and the paper is not shy of admitting that he wrote it while working for DIA.
I would like to know who the “boss” was.
I hope for Davis’s sake that this was properly cleared.
Manstein’s plan for “Fall Gelb?” You never know. pl
LTC Davis makes a very valid case for us limiting our presence. Given the educational level of the average Afghan, it just doesn’t make sense. Are we planning on training them to fly helicopters and light aircraft with maintenance troops too? At least the Vietnamese had enough schooling to be trained by us.
The US Armed Forces met their recruiting goals this past year and they admit that the bad economy had a lot to do with it. I can envision down the road a piece that the “economy draftees” may not have the same level of commitment that the true volunteer force has (and, due to too many deployments), how much longer can we expect them to be on-board with this long long war?
I could go on endlessly on the importance of this absolutely fundamental difference between the world outlook of traditional Muslim society and modern, secular democracy, but what would be the point?
I firmly believe that whatever policy the Obama administration decides on for Afghanistan will have far more to do with the “history, geography, and people” of the Potomac river in North America, than Afghanistan. There are simply too many powerful players and too much at stake politically in the US for it to be otherwise… but maybe I should have hope.
A very interesting alternative, Col. Lang, thanks for posting it. There are a lot of good arguments in it but also one major error. On the last page is a map and associated commentary showing insurgent groups in Afghanistan, which he attributes to http://www.history-map.com. The map was actually produced by the CIA in 1985 and shows insurgent groups during the Soviet period, not insurgent groups today.
We have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.
There’s the answer to our question.
If we left Afghanistan, I think we will have met that goal.
LTC Davis talks a lot about failure. What exactly would failure look like in Afghanistan? If we left today, would it be a failure if the Taliban regained control as long as AQ didn’t return?
I don’t think so. We get way too wrapped around the axle in this country with the mere hint of failure. It’s as though *not failing* is the paramount endeavor even if we don’t define what failure looks like!
Let’s leave and see if AQ or some like minded bastards return. If our intel apparatus divines that AQ and its ilk are regrouping there, then deal with it in spooky ways. But leave our traditional forces out of it.