So I finally got a chance to read the Rolling Stone article that brought down a general.
Michael Hastings paints a bleak portrait of the adventure that is the longest war in US history. The Counter Insurgency strategy (abbreviated COIN) advocated by McChrystal and sold to Obama isn’t working, and isn’t likely to work.
The article leaves me repeating the same question I’ve been asking for years: “What’s the point? Why are we at war in Afghanistan?”
Take this assessment from the article:
After nine years of war, the Taliban simply remains too strongly entrenched for the U.S. military to openly attack. The very people that COIN seeks to win over â€“ the Afghan people â€“ do not want us there.
Our supposed ally, President Karzai, used his influence to delay the offensive, and the massive influx of aid championed by McChrystal is likely only to make things worse. “Throwing money at the problem exacerbates the problem,” says Andrew Wilder, an expert at Tufts University who has studied the effect of aid in southern Afghanistan. “A tsunami of cash fuels corruption, delegitimizes the government and creates an environment where we’re picking winners and losers” â€“ a process that fuels resentment and hostility among the civilian population.
So far, counterinsurgency has succeeded only in creating a never-ending demand for the primary product supplied by the military: perpetual war. There is a reason that President Obama studiously avoids using the word “victory” when he talks about Afghanistan. Winning, it would seem, is not really possible.
And if winning isn’t possible, then why continue to waste American treasure and lives?
When are the American people going to get fed up and demand that our president bring the troops home?