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October 19, 2009


As a long-time lurker, it's good to see Gary back.

This is a great post, Gary. I'm going to have to take some time to digest it before posting anything of substance.

On a lighter and slightly meta note: if Gary posts on the front page, can he still comment saying that he blogged it first?

Good to see you back, and even better to see you headlining, if only temporarily.

I'm glad that you are back, Gary, and I hope you post on the front page often.

Like Catsy I have to read your post a couple times before I have anything to say--and I might not have anything to say since you will probably have siad it already!

Great post Gary. Glad to see you (temporarily) back.

Now to read part 2.

Anoint counterinsurgency - protracted campaigns of armed nation-building - as the new American way of war.

I assume Bacevich really doesn't like this (and I agree with him) but hasn't this been all the rage among liberal foreign policy pundits for the past couple of years? Endless criticism of conventional big ticket items like the F-22 and the faith that all future wars will be counterinsurgencies that will require the USAF to be folded into the Army, blah blah blah.

Daily Kod regular featgure I Got THE NEWS TODAY is about Chris Rodzinski, 28, who was killedin Afganistan on Friday. It was his fourth deployment.

For those who wish to support the troops by helping the dogs they love nowzaddog.co.uk is a charity that helps soldiers in Afganistan bring back home dogs they have befriended tghere. Bahgdad Pups does the same thing for soldiers and their dogs and cats in Iraq.

"I assume Bacevich really doesn't like this (and I agree with him) but hasn't this been all the rage among liberal foreign policy pundits for the past couple of years?"

It goes back to the JFK administration, actually, and Vietnam, with some earlier roots in the Eisenhower administration and the creation of Special Forces.

Robin Moore didn't help.

COIN went out of fashion with the end of the Vietnam War, and the U.S. Army institutionally went back to planning for what it always liked best: big set piece battles between conventional forces.

Which is completely useless against asymmetrical forces, or in occupying, as opposed to conquering, small countries, or helping other small countries fight insurgencies.

So, yes, there's been a renewed vogue for COIN ever since conquering Iraq didn't end with President Bush's exciting visit to the Abraham Lincoln, memorably declaring "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

Jim Henley recently described, in his own words, the difference between COIN and counterterrorism.

Jim has an even better, classic, post from a few years ago arguing why the U.S. shouldn't be doing counter-insurgency, but I'm a little too tired, and have too much of a headache, neck king, and foot pain, to find it right now. Anyone else is welcome to pitch in with the link you know I want!

Scholarly, Gary...and drivel.
Rather than go over and over well plowed fields, I keep looking for singular viewpoints that point out the obvious : what is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are GOVERNMENT-DESTROYING exercises. That's what happens when local choice is murdered by foreigners.
Installation of puppet governments for western interests has always been fraught with the danger of drowning in one's own bullshit and dances around the obvious : starting civil wars in foreign countries is a simple method of organized murder that happens to be very popular and effective in generating 'defence' budget graft. In Afghanistan it has the added advantage of fighting over control of the poppy.
Think about it. The most disruptive, unpopular and expensive domestic initiative is the War on Drugs. From the viewpoint of deploying armed men to harm and cage others while generating revenue for private concerns it has been a gift that keeps on giving.
Cheney and Gonzales have been charged in Texas for profiteering on private prisons.
The largest component of U.S. forces abroad is private : outnumbering troops, unaccountable to government at home or abroad, ruthless and overpaid mercenaries.
So regular troops are a sideshow as much as what we need to watch : and even they report their Mission Statement is bullshit once boots hit the ground.
Shake 'n Bake. Quite the public relations exercise.
Here's my latest collection.

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