JCS Lobbying for Defeat in A-Stan


Oh I’m all fired up again. And you guessed it, it’s about Afghanistan.

We’re running a story on Military.com about a leaked strategy report on Afghanistan compiled by the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They’re arguing that the national goals for Afghanistan should be dialed down, the objectives scaled back and the quest for democracy abandoned.

A report prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff advises focusing more on squeezing Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuaries inside neighboring Pakistan while de-emphasizing longer-term goals for bolstering democracy.

So, is Pakistan all of the sudden going to let us send troops into the SWAT? Oooh, I get it, we’re going to do war from a distance, launching hellfires at wedding ceremonies in Miran Shah from an air conditioned trailer in Nevada.

The Joint Chiefs’ plan reflects growing worries that the U.S. military was taking on more than it could handle in Afghanistan by pursuing the Bush administration’s broad goal of nurturing a thriving democratic government.

The plan calls for a more narrowly focused counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan and operations to root out militant strongholds along the Pakistani border and inside the neighboring country, according to officials who confirmed the essence of the classified report. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plan publicly.

And you think it was the Democrats who wanted to get out of Iraq? That it was Rumsfeld’s fault for trying to get troops out of Iraq before “victory” was achieved? He was doing EXACTLY what the uniformed chiefs wanted. Get in, maneuver warfare, kick the government out and leave. Bing, bang, boom. And now they have an administration that cares so little about defense policy that they keep most of the same people from the Bush administration in place. They see an easy target to just roll over.

They want to get back to maneuver warfare training, big, set-piece tank and infantry battles against Soviet troops flowing across the Fulda gap. Artillery barrages, heliborne cavalry charges, massive parachute landings.

Just read what my colleague over at DoD Buzz found out about an Army captain who just completed his career course:

That the Armys big-battle mindset hasnt gone far, despite eight years spent fighting two counterinsurgency wars, can be seen in this article on the Small Wars Journal web site by an Army captain who recently completed the captains career course and had this to say: “With rare exception, the exercises which hone officers skills in these areas are focused on the conventional Fulda gap-style battle Despite all that has been written about third-generation warfare (Blitzkrieg) and fourth-generation warfare (state vs. non-state), we operated largely in the second generation of warfare.”

Don’t think for one second that this view isn’t widespread within the Army. We all wondered how we could have given up all of that subject matter expertise in counterinsurgency warfare gained through all the blood and toil of Vietnam. Now you see why.

And here’s the most laughable contention of the JCS…

Part of the recommended approach is to search for ways to work more intensively and effectively with the Pakistanis to root out extremist elements in the border area, the senior defense official said…

…The Joint Chiefs’ report advises a greater emphasis on U.S. military training of Pakistani forces for counter-terror work. The training efforts also would expand and develop the Afghan army and police force, while at the same time work to improve Afghan governance.

First of all, we ARE training the Afghan army, and despite MSM reports, doing a pretty good, steady job of it. I commend the forces working closely with the Afghan troops and I know from first hand knowledge that they have a close, solid rapport with their Afghan brethren. But the most idiotic contention is that the Paks will root out the Taliban and, oh, that they’ll take US training…Right…

The Paks have shown little interest in defeating the Taliban because they’re far more focused on the external threat (real or imagined) by an ever more powerful India. And let’s not forget, most of the Talibs and AQ folks are Pakistani…you think for one second the Pak army is going to enthusiastically fight their own — many of whom have sympathy for that brand of Islam? Not a chance.

Just check out this amazing news report to see what I’m talking about…(notice the Pak tanks literally running away from battle…and did the morale sound good to you?)

So, what’s the answer? I’m not sure. But it seems to me we need to keep the democratization and counterinsurgency effort going in Afghanistan. The way it’s reported, the JCS plan is an excuse to abandon that country. People like Dave Petraeus, who were red headed step children in the institutional Army before Bush doubled down in Iraq, will (I pray) not allow this abandonment to happen. We owe it to the Afghans (with whom I have great personal affection and admiration) not to ever allow that country to descend into the Hobbesian miasma that it was from 1990 to 2001.

The Afghans will help us defeat the Taliban, contain militants in Pakistan and crush al Qaeda. We just need to stick with them and if some Pentagon brass think it’s too much work, well tough noogies. Tell Gunny you can’t hump that pack anymore because it’s just too much of a burden and see what he says…that’s what I say.

(Gouge: Weekly Standard for the video and DoD Buzz for the Hybrid stuff)

— Christian

  • DC2 Jennings

    Nice work my friend. I love the sarcasm regarding attacks on Pakistani soil from the trailer park.
    This should have always been our focus in defeating AQ, bringing democracy and stability to Afghanistan.
    I don’t necessarily think the JCS wants to abandon irregular warfare. They have just never been able to wrap their arms around how to fight it. That is due to the fact that they are warriors and not statesmen. To defeat an insurgency you need both.

  • Nero

    Pakis and Indians are useless soldiers.
    Indians couldn’t handle 10 terrorists in Bumbai and they were using their so-called elite troops.
    The Pakis in the video are absolutely useless. No guts no brains no skills.
    If it weren’t for their huge population bases they would insignificant in this world.

  • Ptsfp

    Well, I wonder if the government is just thinking that they can pull the troops and just send in Blackwater to clean up the mess.
    Seems that it looks like Blackwater will have some time on its hands now that they are being booted from Iraq. Don’t get me wrong, I like Blackwater, I just think its crazy that the US needs to hire a contracting company to fight its battles.
    On the other hand, a report came out that Russia wants to “help” the US in Afghanistan. I am sure that Russia has seen the error of its Soviet Union ways and just wants to aid the international community by bringing peace and stability to the region.
    Yeah right, I see that happening… A Bear is still a Bear even if it tries to fit in sheeps clothing that is ten times to small for it to fit in.

  • HPC

    I will throw in my ten cents about this JCS trial balloon, or whatever it is. I don’t think Gates and Mullen, and Petrues have any desire to abandon 4th and 5th generation warfare, and go back to Big War scenarios. Don’t need a return to that failed thinking of the Powell Doctrine. I am sure however, that many inside and outside the Pentagon still do want to get it on with Russia and China, as we see many of their proponents on this board every day; I call them the ‘Red Dawn’ crowd. And we also have the Global Warming Resource Wars crowd, as a hedge, in case they fail to persuade on the classic Big War ideology scenarios.
    I will state that Iraq is vastly more important that Afghanistan, and it is a mistake to just abandon Iraq, after some painful success, and then doubling down on Afghanistan/Pakistan, which has a small chance of ever becoming a ‘victory’?
    Thanks to the US sacrifices and persistence, Iraq has a better than 50/50 chance of becoming a modern, quasi-secular, prosperous and peaceful Middle East nation, something Afghanistan will NEVER be. Obama can always screw it up though.
    The requirements for Afghanistan are very different than Iraq, TTP, weapons, vehicles….etc
    Afghanistan cannot be solved without Pakistan, and just killing people is not a solution and maybe counter-productive. Providing for security requires too much effort and too many troops for little return, eradication poppy is impossible, and most of the villages do not want to be part of am Afghan Central Government.
    What can be done? To continue attacking the high value targets, more carefully though, to continue training the Army/Police, but the only real hope is to buy off as many Afghanis a possible. Even that is not much hope for long term development. Maybe buy the poppy, and encourage alternative crops.
    Democracy is impossible and quite frankly, most people in the world don’t care about democracy until they get some economic gain around a strong central government, around an annual per capita GDP of 4,000 USD. Democracy is the very end in the development chain. Security and Economics are a must, then eventually, decades later, democracy. I agree with Obama that GWOT needs to relabeled and narrowed.

  • Roy Smith

    P.S.,the cynics would say that the only reason we invaded Afghanistan was to put the drug overlords back in power & to restore the opium trade that the taliban destroyed. Now that the opium trade is blooming again,we can say “mission accomplished.”

  • Keith

    > And now they have an administration that cares so little about defense policy that they keep most of the same people from the Bush administration in place.
    Now that’s not fair

  • T888

    I love that pic

  • Camp

    It seems as if 2 basic strategies exist. The first, is to hold & reinforce Afghanistan. By building up the larger cities, creating economic opportunities, and securing/promoting access to education.
    The second can summed up by, “The road to victory in Afghanistan, runs through Pakistan.” Pushing for a two front war against the Tribal areas. Pakistani soldiers acting as the the Anvil & the US performing as the Hammer from Afghanistan.
    Or maybe a combination of the two could work. With about a year to year & half timeline (cooling off period) to set up & execute. Employ the first strategy, while building up to the second. The Pakistani Army would need to employ better training techniques, coordination, & public aide programs. The U.S. would build up in Afghanistan, suspend Predator kills, and utilize a long media campaign to improve its image in Pakistan. Then the U.S. & Pakistan (hopefully) announce operations to clean out the tribal areas. Beginning with an amnesty program for people in the tribal areas, rewards for intel; and a plan to evacuate, house, feed, & reimburse civilians from the AO. Then conduct coordinated joint operations to squeeze & open up the tribal area from both sides.
    Then again, I’m just guessing… :)

  • Mark

    “We owe it to the Afghans (with whom I have great personal affection and admiration) not to ever allow that country to descend into the Hobbesian miasma that it was from 1990 to 2001.”
    No, the Afghans owe it to _us_ to advance their country now, after everything we’ve done over the last 7+ years to try to bring them into the modern world. They need to shoulder the burden as their Iraqi counterparts have, and abandon the tribalism and gangsterism which keeps them in the relative Stone Age.

  • CE1371

    Christian, this is one of your better articles. You’ve presented a very important and unfortunate insight that the public needs to know about.

  • AMMO

    Honestly. I do see where you’re coming from. From an american point of view, countries like Afghanistan and Iraq are underpriviledged, underdeveloped holes-in-the-wall. But they will never really want our help to “modernize”, and they will never “shoulder the burden” with us to do it. The whole ideal behind this Holy War declared on America has nothing to do with political control of a country. It has everything to do with morals. Traditional muslims have despised the idea of westernization for centuries. It is because we, compared to them, are an immoral people. Here, if you steal something, you might sit in jail for a while, pay a fine. In Afghanistan, if you steal anything, the person you stole from has a legal right to cut off your hand. SO, before you judge this country, think about what compromises this venture would require of them.

  • TB

    I think you’re reaching a bit on this one. I’m glad someone at the headshed is finally taking the time to figure out we can realistically accomplish in Afghanistan. Different countries have been trying to put their own spin on A’stan for the last 3000 years to no effect. What makes us the hot shit that can do it and nobody else could?
    The afghani people owe us nothing. Like Iraq, we weren’t invited. If they want to live in mud huts, raise sheep, and live in a politically fractured environment the rest of their lives, they’re welcome to it. I have no business making them do otherwise. At least with previous efforts by the Greeks, Mongols, Brits, Persians, and Russians they could walk to A’stan. We have to truck our way through enemy territory and we’re about to lose our air corridor. While most of the people identify themselves as Afghani, they’ve never been that interested in a central government. One of my coworkers went to a remote village in Helmand last year and asked when was the last time the government stopped by. The Afghani told him “when the soviets were here.”
    The mujahadeen beat the Soviets with supplies, training, and leadership from Pakistan. The Taliban is pretty much a creation of the ISI. The Taliban’s manpower comes from the border territories where many Afghanis consider them kin and the Paki army can’t do squat. Unless we’re prepared to invade that region and kill everyone, we’re not going to end that situation.
    The only reason things look great in Iraq for the moment is because many insurgents had enough and for various reasons stopped fighting. The Afghanis have to want it. They have to want to go in the direction we’re pushing them. We’re uninvited christian foreigners with big bombs and we’re going to leave eventually. We will put our best counterinsurgency foot forward but there are bottom line issues handicapping us. If we want them to be friendly to us - then that might happen. If we want them to have a western democracy, then plan on us staying there for generations and killing thousands on both sides.

  • ahsan

    do you really think that over 1400 casualties for the Pak Army constitutes the lack of commitment on the Pak Govt’s part. I m surprised that you would form a conclusion like that given the news report you posted yourself. Plus, you are in a much better position to understand that movement on a battlefield is not a walk in the park. Soldiers retreat for many reasons, and most of them are strategic. Assuming that they dont want to fight because they are retreating from a spot is not very rational. or is it?
    Well, you can say that Indian and Pakistani troops are useless or what ever, but know that they are fighting their own population, cousins, relatives, friends, et all because of a foreign directive. And the number of casualties proves their commitment. They may have their own reasons for doing so, but its not easy turning 20 % of your populations into ghost towns. May be its sounds like peanuts sitting from where you are, in your comfy homes. try these tents for a night, and this food for a meal.

  • Wembley

    How far do you think an outside force would get trying to impose Islam on the US? And do you think that trying to impose US-style democracy in Afghanistan would be any easier?
    Focusing on what is actually achievable is far more likely to get results - after seven years the current strategy is not working, and putting more boots on the ground is not in itself going to help.
    Oh, and ask yourself where that “Hobbesian nightmare” came from - AFAIK it was the result of a load of heavily armed and well-organised Islamic groups sponsored by some geniuses in the Pentagon and CIA. And you wonder why Afghans are dubious about the US?

  • Rhyno327

    The P-stani’s are getting thier butts kicked. They will not accept US advisors, they do not have the will to defeat t-ban/AQ. Where was thier air cover? No attack choppers? No F-16’s bombing strong points-NOTHING. If the US thinks the PAKI’s are going to help, and operate like a western army, forget it. If we are to send another 30K into the ATO, where and wat is the logistics route? Knocking them outta the box in A-stan is 1 thing, killing the insurgency where it is rooted is another. The tribal areas are a no-go zone for the Pak army. Only the US can destroy the “safe havens” there. I think the FCS should be put on hold, its not gonna win this war. P-stan eventually will go down, a nuclear armed moslem fundamentalist state. Nation building in a-stan is close to impossible. The JCS may be right. Lower the expectations, train the ANA, and get out. We have lost too many, spent too much already.

  • Ted Weiss

    Weren’t we warned right after 9-11 that the effort against terrorists would be long and difficult? Now it seems the JCS has “lost stomach.” I don’t think it’s wise to disengage from the original goals here. We didn’t ask for this war but I’ll be damned if we should shy away from the genuinely daunting task of stabilizing Afghanistan; replacing fear with hope. No, No, No, No!!!!! If anything, refine the mission. We can’t afford the consequences of re-Talibanization. What the F are these generals thinking?

  • barry 0351

    The plan is to restore Muslem honor and erase the humiliation inflicted upon them by losing a war with Islamic terrorist forces.
    In order to do this America must humble down and take a humiliating defeat in the field.
    “American forces have been told to TAKE A DIVE for the improvment in relations with Muslem nations, also called Dhimmitude”

  • Roy Smith

    NATO has been kicked out of Kyrgyzstan,we cannot use Minas Air Base anymore. Pakistan is very iffy when it come to resupplying our forces. Our NATO allies have been authorized to negotiate with IRAN for supplies needed for the mission. All of you who still think we can win in Afghanistan,pull your heads out of your asses. LOOK AT A MAP!!!!! Show ONE FRIENDLY STATE that will allow us to pass through to support & resupply Afghanistan. Afghanistan is lost,period.

  • freefallingbomb

    To the poster “barry 0351”:
    You wrote: “The plan is to restore Muslem honor and erase the humiliation inflicted upon them by losing a war with Islamic terrorist forces.”
    1) The U.S.A. started the “War on Terror” against Afghanistan, not against Iraq or against any other Muslim country, so which “previous humiliation of Moslems” should have been revenged by a deliberate self-defeat in Afghanistan?
    2) If the idea is to make all Muslims feel especial again, especially now, since the U.S. American President is a Muslim too, then ALL that the U.S.A. have to do is to drop miserable, life-unworthy “Israel”!
    I consider this a much more acceptable price for a Hyper-Power than deliberately losing a war against a few tooth-less old Talibans who constantly bump with their heads against the cave walls, in the darkness underground, don’t you?

  • Ptsfp

    Dropping support for Israel would be the biggest mistake this country ever made. Israel is one of our few true allies in that area. We have only been fighting this “war on terror” for a very short period of time compared to the Israelis. We have an ocean separating us from the home countries of the terrorists; they have them as there next door neighbors. We can go home when our tour is up; they live in the fight 24/7.
    They are also a leader in technology and military fields. They make everything from anti-RPG technology to advanced computer firewalls and routers. Heck, it was Israel that made the first UAV.
    The only reason the terrorists hate the US and Israel is because of our beliefs. The militant Muslims believe that they are the chosen ones of God and need to convert all others by force.
    Israel is the nation chosen by God above all the rest. Jerusalem is the only city called the city that God loves. It is said of Israel that God would bless those that bless her and curse those that curse her.
    And they hate the US because we are a Christian nation. Christianity is, from the beginning, a Jewish religion, serving a Jewish God, taught by a Jewish Prophet, following a Jewish Messiah and believing that one day, God will create a new heaven and a new Earth and we will live together with God in the New Jerusalem.
    That is why the militants hate us. It comes down to something much more powerful that political reasons, it is our religious beliefs.

  • freefallingbomb

    To the poster “Ptsfp”:
    You wrote: “We can go home when our tour is up; they live in the fight 24/7”
    “Israel”‘s problems with the Muslims are exclusively “Israel”‘s problems with the Muslims. And they well deserve them.
    Besides, the U.S.A. had an excellent relationship with the entire Arab World before helping “Israel” to survive in the 1973 war (an even much better relationship than now! And cheaper oil too!).
    Did the U.S.A. have ANY enemies inside the Arab World before “Israel”? NO !
    So, since most of the completely unnecessary conflicts between Christians and Muslims, between the West and the Middle East, can be traced back to that illegal, highly experimental, utopian, inviable modern-time “Israel”, I suggest that we - all the Christians and Muslims together - reconciliate ourselves again and celebrate eternal peace and cooperation again… over “Israel”‘s cadaver!
    You wrote: “They are also a leader in technology and military fields. They make everything from anti-RPG technology to advanced computer firewalls and routers. Heck, it was Israel that made the first UAV.”
    SO WHAT , if modern “Israel” even owes its BARE EXISTENCE in 1947 exclusively to us Christians?
    And it STILL DOES : They’re Welfare parasites of the U.S.A., while an increasing number of homeless U.S. Americans of all ages are freezing and hungering right now, without any perspective for the future!
    And what do we Westerners get from “Israel” in return? Nothing but massive pimping, fraud, treason, false-flag attacks and proxy wars for “Israel”!
    Their time is up.
    You wrote: “Israel is the nation chosen by God above all the rest.”
    God changes his opinion. That’s why God destroyed “Israel”. SEVERAL times! Your eschatological status now is “owner-less”, didn’t you know?
    You wrote: “Christianity is… taught by a Jewish Prophet, following a Jewish Messiah…”
    But do you Jews accept the “Jewish Jesus”? Hey, do you…? “Not quite”, if I remember well…
    There is NO such thing as a “Judeo-Christianity”, my little Jewish “cyber-warrior” or fundie nut, no matter how skillfully you twist the facts: This “Judeo-Christianity” crap is a fraudulent, blasphemous ideology aimed EXCLUSIVELY at the U.S. American religious fundamentalists (and ONLY AT THEM , because no one else in the whole World is so incredibly brain-dead) to make them deliver voter and taxpayer support for the political agenda of “Israel”.

  • Ptsfp

    What people don’t understand about the whole Christian/Jewish/Militant Islamist issue is the root cause behind it. This goes back way farther than 1947. When you look into it, you find that the Jews and Islamists are actually feuding brothers.
    The year, about 2000 BC. Abraham has two sons, one from his wife, Isaac and the other from a servant girl, Ishmael. Abraham is promised, by God, a line of blessing through his son Isaac, and Ishmael and his mother are sent away. God gives Abraham and his descendants through Isaac a section of land called the “Promised Land”.
    Here lies the problem. The militant Islamic version of the story is a little different. They think that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was the son of the promise and that it was Isaac that was the slave woman’s child.
    Therefore, they insist that they must own the Promised Land in order for their belief to be true. They also believe that they must be in control of Jerusalem, because as the Bible says, it is the city that God loves.
    They hate Christians because we too believe that Isaac is the son of the promise, and that through Isaac’s line, Jesus was born. The early Christian churches were Jewish and met in synagogues. It was not until Paul entered the scene that the message of Christianity spread out of Israel.
    The Judeo-Christian relationship was heavily strained during Rome’s conversion to Christianity and the Crusades, where many Jews were killed in the name of greed and power. But, now many Christians are realizing that the Bible is more than just the New Testament and embracing our Jewish roots and the chasm is being healed.
    The Militants believe that the world must convert to the Muslim faith or be destroyed by Jihad. If Israel was out of the picture, they would still attack the US, Spain, UK, Russia, Phillipines, Pakistan, India, etc. Until there is a change in their core belief system, there will always be terrorism.
    Thus endeth the sermon.