On Memorial Day, Debate Over Counter-Insurgency at West Point

By: Monday May 28, 2012 10:54 am

The President laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery today, and he made a proclamation: “After a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon,” he said at Arlington National Cemetery, drawing applause when he noted the [...]

Fracking Companies Employing Psy-Ops Specialists for PR Campaigns Against Activists

By: Monday January 16, 2012 9:35 am

UPDATE: So this story is from back in November, I’ve been helpfully corrected. That makes it no less disturbing, of course, but FYI. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a disturbing story today about how fracking companies are employing counter-insurgency and psy-ops experts to manage criticism of them from activists and the media. Marcellus Shale gas drilling [...]

Administration’s New Afghan Strategy Looks Like Joe Biden’s 2009 Afghan Strategy

By: Tuesday November 1, 2011 2:23 pm

The United States has a revised strategy for the war in Afghanistan, one which, according to Spencer Ackerman, is pretty bracingly honest: The Obama administration, as the Washington Post reports, is pursuing a new strategy to end the war, called “Fight, Talk, Build,” in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s phrase. In essence, it means [...]

The End of Counter-Insurgency?

By: Friday June 24, 2011 9:35 am

Could the gradual drawdown in Afghanistan signal an end to the military’s flirtation with counter-insurgency? I’m skeptical. COIN basically took over at the highest levels of the military over the past several years, and the officer corps, the next generation of leaders, has been engaged in COIN tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the next [...]

Behind the Scenes, Petraeus Lost in Afghanistan Deliberations

By: Thursday June 23, 2011 12:13 pm

Say what you will about President Obama’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan, and I have. But it does appear clear that he stretched beyond the willingness of the generals. Although Mike Mullen has been outwardly supportive of the approach, he also called it “risky,” saying that the withdrawal was more aggressive than he considered prudent. He calls [...]

The New, Old Mission in Afghanistan

By: Wednesday June 22, 2011 5:54 pm

Let me make some brief thoughts on the President’s address. First of all, it was a somewhat poorly written, bumper-sticker-laden speech. Obama clearly wanted to claim a position of success in Afghanistan, and use the withdrawal as an example of that success. But there were a couple things that can serve as markers for the [...]

Rep. John Garamendi on Afghanistan: Without a Withdrawal Plan, “There’s Going to Be a Revolt” in Congress

By: Friday June 3, 2011 9:56 am

In addition to seeking counsel on Medicare and taxes, House Democrats pressed President Obama yesterday in that White House meeting on Afghanistan. Because of deficit hysteria or Anthony’s Weiner or whatever, we don’t hear a lot about Afghanistan. But Democrats are united in their concern that we are muddling through a war without a strategy [...]

Aid Groups Unconvinced By Military Claims of Progress in Afghanistan

By: Wednesday December 29, 2010 6:30 am

If you never left the Pentagon briefing room and only published regurgitations of their press releases, you would believe that 2010 occasioned a great turnaround in Afghanistan, with progress throughout the country as the Taliban lost its grip on control of several areas. You’d think the momentum was with the occupiers and surrender around the [...]

Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour/Victoria: Impersonator Pretends to Be Taliban Leader

By: Tuesday November 23, 2010 7:00 am

These are the kind of moments that a more secure, self-confident country would use to justify a mass pullout, and never go near Afghanistan again. For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent [...]

Losing the War in Afghanistan

By: Wednesday October 27, 2010 7:13 am

The Washington Post front-pager, a week before national elections, is staggering: An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban so far has failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks to the insurgency or put meaningful pressure on its leaders to seek peace, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials citing the latest assessments of [...]

Afghan-Taliban Talks an Elaborate Psy-Op?

By: Sunday October 24, 2010 10:53 am

After weeks of news dumps from anonymous sources that Afghan-Taliban talks were proceeding at high levels, facilitated by NATO forces providing escorts for Taliban leaders into Kabul, Landay and Strobel talk to some other sources for McClatchy, and find that the whole thing is just a bunch of PR: Despite news reports of high-level talks [...]

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