The Great COIN Toss
Counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan are not working, in fact, very little is and the country continues its record of being the 'graveyard of empires'. Drones firing at will into Pakistan are further fanning the flames, for the 150 'leaders' that have been killed (some only to return...) there have been over a 1,000 causalities, this in a country that is an ally of the USA. Such a doctrine is flawed and requires immediate change or stopping altogether, as this article points out the men who flew the planes on 9/11 received their training in the USA and Europe. Not in the mountains of Afghanistan and that we are only letting ourselves be fooled by thinking that victory there will mean safety anywhere else. It is time to either redefine the reasons for being there and/or begin to change the mission, hopefully some sense will prevail in the process.
The latest United States assessment found only five out of 116 areas “secure,” and in 89 areas the government was “non-existent, dysfunctional or unproductive.”
In theory, COIN sounds reasonable; in practice, it almost always fails. Where it has succeeded — the Philippines, Malaya, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, and the Boer War — the conditions were very special: island nations cut off from outside support (the Philippines and Sri Lanka), insurgencies that failed to develop a following (Bolivia) or were based in a minority ethnic community (Malaya, the Boer War).
COIN is always presented as politically neutral, a series of tactics aimed at winning hearts and minds. But in fact, COIN has always been part of a strategy of domination by a nation(s) and/or socioeconomic class.
No, it is not all about oil and gas, but a lot of it is.
In many ways, COIN is the most destructive and self-defeating strategy a country can employ, and its toxicity is long-term.
Once the United States endorsed Karzai’s fraudulent election late last year, the Afghans knew it wasn’t about democracy.
There was a time when the old imperial powers and the United States could wage war without having to bank their home-fires. No longer. The United States has spent over $300 billion on the Afghan War, and is currently shelling out about $7 billion a month. In the meantime, 31 states are sliding toward insolvency, and 15 million people have lost their jobs. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Huffington Post, “It just can’t be that we have a domestic agenda that is half the size of the defense budget.”
Empires can choose to step back with a certain grace, as the Dutch did in Southeast Asia. Or they can stubbornly hang on, casting about for the right military formula that will keep them on top. That fall is considerably harder.
The choice is ours.Read more at www.fpif.org