Solomon, a former Marine writing at his SNAFU blog, posits that the current counter-insurgency strategy, tactics and training of the US armed forces is fatally flawed.
This is about our wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, the Philippines and other places I don't know about.
It ain't working.
We're wasting lives and money. Don't get it twisted. Anyone that dons the uniform to carry out the policy of the United States IS NOT wasting his life. But leadership pursuing a failed policy CAN!!!
It should be beyond obvious to anyone watching this thing that Afghanistan is spiraling out of control. We're looking at a Saigon #2 if that can't be stabilized. Syria is a dog's breakfast. Africa is a confusing morass of ethnic, religious and tribal violence that is so deep rooted I can't even begin to get my arms around it.
What I find curious and almost funny (people are dying so that's not the write phrasing but I can't think of anything better) is that we keep reusing the same playbook.
The war is being lost?
Surge. Bribe. And when that doesn't work then we do a modern day "Rolling Thunder" and try and bomb them back to the negotiating table.
The strategy doesn't work.
Want to know what's particularly infuriating? Ya know all those penny packets of embedded Marines and Soldiers? Ya know that new Security Forces Assistance Brigade? The partnerships with the Afghans? The recent idea of unleashing airpower to deal with the sudden gains that the Taliban are making on the battlefield?
All of the above is from the Vietnam War playbook. Amos and Petraeus struggled mightily to rewrite a manual that in essence reworded the document but left things in tact.
We're losing Afghanistan because we're fighting it like Vietnam. The results will be the same.
Throw out the playbook. Give it to the Army/Navy War Colleges and let a few Colonels and Majors (I guess Captains promotable too) give it a turn with the only caveat being that preconceived notions are off limits and that everything they've learned up to that point can be considered irrelevant.
What to do in Afghanistan now?
This applies across the board. We're out of money so it's time to get smart. We need to modernize for the coming fights. Afghanistan and other spots we're fighting in are just money pits. This issue needs to be raised to a national level decision. Maybe even put it before Congress. If war is what the American people want then a special "war tax" needs to be applied with the caveat that it expires every two years and need to be reauthorized (that way it doesn't become enduring and another source of revenue for govt graft), and it MUST ONLY go to the Dept of Defense.
If the American people approve then we continue the fight. If they don't then we simply pull out.
Is that brutal? Will our allies hate us? Maybe but we will put our country on the right trajectory...plus we'll get a national consensus one way or another.
There's more at the link.
I agree with Solomon. I've said on several occasions that there's no military solution to Afghanistan. The British found that out the hard way in the days of the Raj. Heck, Alexander the Great found that a couple of millennia ago! It's been that way forever. Nothing's changed.
I also have up-close-and-personal, halitosis-range experience of counter-insurgency warfare. I spent eighteen years, off and on, experiencing that, both in uniform and as a civilian. I saw it from the grunt's point of view, and the terrorist's point of view, and the victims-of-terrorists' point of view, and all levels in between. I learned the hard way that there are two solutions to the terrorism problem. One is to turn the population against the terrorists, so that they no longer have the "cover" of a society in which they can hide (Mao's "fish in the sea" analogy). The other is to kill them all, and every one of their sympathizers and supporters, so that there are no terrorists left. The latter works . . . but it's very hard to make it work, because almost always there will be some left who'll continue to fight. It also can't be done by any remotely civilized nation, because it would make it a monster. We remember those who tried with revulsion and horror. (See Hitler and Nazi Germany, Stalin and the Soviet Union, Mao and Communist China, Pol Pot and Cambodia, and so on and so on ad nauseam.)
Given that, in the conflicts Solomon mentions, we can't do the first (simply not possible), and don't have the necessary ruthlessness and mercilessness to do the second, we're left on the horns of a dilemma. It can be argued, very persuasively, that we shouldn't have gone in at all: or that, if we did, we should have cleaned house and then left, not hanging around for years as we have done. We didn't, due to very misguided national and military policies. We're now left to extricate ourselves from the mess as best we can. This cannot and will not be done through victory, because victory is not possible under the constraints set for us by our civilization. So . . . how?
Solomon is right. We need a new approach.