Today's attacks in the heart of Kabul are indicative of how long and difficult a full scale campaign intended to pacify Afghanistan under central control will really be.

The insurgents were undoubtedly Islamic zealots.  People don't blow themselves up in the hope of a better earthly future. 

McChrystal as the chief propagandist promptly sought to "spin" the powerful symbol of the capability and will behind the attacks.  "Cruelty toward the Afghan people," etc.  The US military has convinced itself that bullshit and bullets are equally potent.  Obama's politicos should remember that when they think of matching wits with the generals in the media.  Generals + Neocons = Big Time Propaganda.

The war in Afghanistan can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion for the US, but not the way the church of COIN wants to do it.  USE AFGHAN TRIBALS to fight these guys.

An additional problem for McChrystal is that he will soon have to compete for attention and resources with whomever will emerge as the "savior" of Yemen.

Obama is looking more and more unlikely for a second term.  I am sure that he is praying a lot over Massachusetts.  pl


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15 Responses to

  1. b says:

    The Afghan version of big time propaganda:

    Afghan politicians insisted the Taliban attack held little significance.
    “It does not mean the Taliban is strong. It means they cannot target military targets only the Afghan people. It means that they are weak,” Mir Ahmed Joyenda, an Afghan parliamentarian, told Al Jazeera.

    Sure … the Taliban are weak … the surge is working … the U.S. defeated the enemy in Helmand …
    How long until the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan?

  2. JohnH says:

    Obama’s second term is indeed looking unlikely. He exerted himself strenuously to sell himself to the American people. But selling his policies? Not a chance.
    The “community organizer” could have organized the people. The great speaker could have used his most fearsome weapon–the bully pulpit. As it is, Obama just laid back and barely ever made an appeal to anyone to support his policies (if he has any.)
    Obama must realize that you don’t do slam dunks with both hands tied behind your back. What happened?

  3. lina says:

    “Obama is looking more and more unlikely for a second term. I am sure that he is praying a lot over Massachusetts.” pl
    I remember saying exactly the same thing about George W. Bush.

  4. graywolf says:

    Some of your comments (which I agree with, BTW) make you sound like you were born 150 years too late. You could have been a British Army officer, or political agent in India – manipulating the natives for the crown.

  5. Ramtanu Maitra says:

    If Gen. McChrystal with his US/NATO/Afghan National Army/Afghan Police cannot keep 20 armed men from entering the capital city Kabul, allegedly the safest town in Afghanistan, from different directions with at least three suicide bombers attacking three government buildings, Presidential Palace, Serena Hotel and setting ablaze a shopping center,it seems he and his boss in the White House are pulling wool over American people’s eyes saying they will “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” the Taliban, and “win the hearts and minds” of Afghans. Too much blood has flown down the Kabul River

  6. Patrick Lang says:

    Ah, I see my error. you are both a pseudo-hardass and naive. pl

  7. Harper says:

    Col. Lang anticipated the Taliban strategy in his initial comments on the McChrystal report, when it first came out. Taliban knows how unpopular the war is back home in the United States, and they are conducting a classic asymmetric warfare operation, to intensify the cost of going ahead with the COIN program. You are absolutely right that, as long as there are zealots who are ready to conduct suicide bombings, the COIN strategy is doomed to a costly, drawn-out failure–unless saner heads in Washington force a rethink.

  8. Jose says:

    Massachusetts Senate race is over.
    IMHO, if it was close the Boston Machine would guarantee a close victory.
    I also remember being so elated when Bubba lost both chambers of Congress to the Newt-led Republicans.
    Only to watch Bubba be saved and re-elected for taking credit for things he opposed.
    Col., add the bailouts of Wall Street and the UAW to list of reasons not to reelect Foolbama.
    “Change We Can Believe In”
    P.S. The Haitian relief is becoming a potential political liability.

  9. graywolf says:

    Whatever a “pseudo-hardass is”, I’m not a hardass.
    “Naive”, maybe. Depends on the situation.

  10. Nancy K says:

    Americans deserve the democracy they get. I’m not sure why Americans would trust Republicans, who got us into our financial problems in the first place, but go figure.
    I’m dissapointed in Obama, I don’t feel he is progressive enough, however I would not cut off my nose to spite my face by voting Republican.

  11. Nicollo says:

    Not (never) taking sides, but hey, folks, it’s two days short of one down and three more to go for the supposed “lame duck.” Back in high school, when we got three yards on first down, Coach’s mantra was “three times four’s twelve!” The final health care vote, not Afghanistan this week, will be Obama’s first down play, and much afterward will depend on it I think. Politically, what happens “over there” in years two and three will be much more important.

  12. Personally I believe Haiti will be Obama’s nadir where his minions are giving speeches to the Haitians including flyovers of the country telling them to stay [safely?] home and don’t attempt to migrate to the US.

  13. Redhand says:

    Obama is looking more and more unlikely for a second term. I am sure that he is praying a lot over Massachusetts.
    It’s too early to tell, even if Brown wins in MA as predicted. However, if he loses, it will be because he tried to change too little, not too much, IMO.

  14. robt willmann says:

    On the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer last night, the attack in Kabul was blamed on the “Haqqani network, an al-Qaida-linked Taliban faction.”
    This alleged “network” is said to be run by the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who was one of the best resistance commanders against the Russians during its occupation of Afghanistan. Former CIA officer Milt Bearden back in 2004 described that situation and that the elder Haqqani has turned from being America’s friend to being its enemy.
    The Public Broadcasting System report does not mention this history.
    As the escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan gets underway, one particular person is quiet as a church mouse — General David Petraeus, the self-styled counter-insurgency scholar. He is hiding behind Gen. McChrystal, knowing full well that if he is publicly associated with an ongoing mess in Afghanistan, his carefully promoted “image” pointed at politics — including being a “runner-up” for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2007 — will go right down the drain.

  15. Abu Sinan says:

    I am wondering if you have read the Harpers story below and whether you think it true and the possible implications?

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