"… given the relatively small size of the Afghan army and police — numbering some 170,000 men — and with the total number of U.S./NATO troops numbering around 100,000, McChrystal's impending request makes a great deal of military sense. While the combined forces total 270,000, classic counterinsurgency doctrine indicates that Afghanistan needs as many as 600,000 soldiers and cops to protect its population of some 30 million.
An additional reason why more boots on the ground makes military sense is the large geographic scope of the Taliban insurgency. Estimates of the number of full-time fighters generally do not go above 20,000 men. But according to our analysis of an unpublished threat assessment map provided by the Afghan National Security Forces to the United Nations in April, 40 percent of Afghanistan was either under direct Taliban control or a high-risk area for insurgent attacks. " Bergen and Tiedeman
George Romney (father of Mit) ran for president back in the bad old Vietnam days. He went to Vietnam, listened to the briefings, poked about a bit and then came back a supporter of the whole enterprise. Later, in the midst of the Republican primary season, he decided that he had made a mistake in judgment and told the world that he had been deceived by the briefing process and that the war was not such a good idea. That was before Cronkite's Tet Offensive epiphany in 1968. The press and public found such wavering to be unacceptable and that was the end of George Romney as a national political figure. Many, many other visitors to Vietnam suffered the same eventual fate.
A couple of month's back, an old soldier employed as a cameraman at a discussion of the Afghan War remarked to me, "sir, its 1963 again." And that it is.
The same words are being spoken. "Three to five years, that's what it will take." The same kind of fervent ideology driven "experts" are pushing the COIN nation-building "candy." Have some! It will taste sooo good. You will feel so good about yourself and your benevolent view of how to wage war against the evil guerrillas/jihadis/communists/tribals/… What a fine thing to build a "brave new world."
"Afghanistan needs as many as 600,000 soldiers and cops to protect its population of some 30 million."
"…according to our analysis of an unpublished threat assessment map provided by the Afghan National Security Forces to the United Nations in April, 40 percent of Afghanistan was either under direct Taliban control or a high-risk area for insurgent attacks."
They "need" 600,000 soldiers and police! Lordy! Lordy! Can things be as bad as that? "40 percent" of Afghanistan is at risk? Can there be any doubt that we must SAVE AFGHANISTAN? They have maps that show which places are "at risk?" Lordy! I do hope that they are color coded. There must be some copies of the color coded and categorized maps that we "cranked out" periodically, (monthly I suppose) in the pacification program. Let's see…. "This village is in category 3. No! No! It is in category 4. The data from our advisers with the government in that province show that to be true…"
This is absurd. I know that all these generals, etc. were in high school during Vietnam but haven't they ever read anything serious about that mess? Exactly the same things were said then as justification for American intervention in a war that was essentially a civil war among the Vietnamese. It was said then that the Vietnamese communists were mere pawns of the Soviet Union and/or the Red Chinese. In fact, they were far too nationalist to be dependable pawns of any foreign entity. Now, we are snuggled up to Hanoi like lovers on a cold and snowy night. Now, it is said that the Taliban menace is a pawn of the Al-Qa'ida centered takfiri jihadi network. Rubbish! "Taliban" is now being used as a descriptive shortcut for every conceivable kind of dissident Pushtun rabble. Karzai is our hero? for how long will that be? I remember someone named Diem. He was our hero, a brave enemy of the united communist menace.
The snow machine is running full blast in Afghanistan. Self assured and handsome generals preside over artful and convincing "power point" briefings. Visiting firemen tour the country convincing themselves that this brush fire war on the roof of the world is our fight. How is it our fight? How?
Soon, it will be 1968 again, and then…