“Hearts and Minds”


As our military is engaged in winding down the Iraq War, ramping up the Afghanistan War and fighting a covert war in Pakistan all based on the COIN strategy (trying to win Hearts and Minds), it’s quite simple that we remember how flawed a strategy this is.

After our military attacks and occupies a country, we will then convince it’s citizens that they should side with our country. John Cole keeps it simple:

Again, this is not rocket surgery. If they were not sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda before, after you bomb the shit out of them, they will be. As far as I am concerned, the Obama reliance on this kind of warfare is the absolute worst thing he has done since he has come into office, yet, oddly enough, few seem to give a shit.

via Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Very Complicated Logic.

And to be fair, Obama thought this war was worth fighting and campaigned to fight this war so walking into the war built on COIN, properly staffing the current strategic initiative makes sense administratively. It just seems that COIN is a strategy that flies in the face of human nature. My sincere hope is that Obama sticks fast to deadline for wind down of the Afghanistan War next summer regardless of what various generals may say or want. If American military brass attempt delay or reject Obama’s efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, he needs to be firm in terminating their commands and finding generals that will prepare an end to the war in earnest. The war has been too long and the cost of this military engagement is too great.

It seems to me hoping the leaders of the previous religious tyrannical regime and the leaders of the current hand picked corrupt administration can agree to some sort of working treaty seems much more realistic than hoping COIN creates some acceptable equilibrium in Afghanistan and Pakistan.