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Rather than saying flat out that we cannot afford to lose, would it not be more helpful to clearly define what we mean by "afford" and "lose"?

That is, what would the "costs" be? What would constitute a "loss"? Is there a real threat of the Taliban coming back to power if counter-insurgency fails, and if there is, what is the real threat of their again sponsoring terrorists who threaten the USA? And do any the terrorists that might threaten the USA today actually need state sponsorship, anyway? And isn't the real key Pakistan? It was the state that sponsored the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan (with considerable helf from Saudi Arabia). I think we have to ask ourselves what the risks are that Pakistan could turn, not maintain a focus on Afghanistan simply because Al Qaeda based itself there up until five years ago.

I guess I am not persuaded that the cost of digging deeper into an Afghanistani quagmire is worth any real benefit that might result.


There is but one God and that God is Allah. Is that a clue telling us what the world is up against? Is Allah the same God that Moses met in a burning bush? Maybe there's hope.


Counterinsurgency is looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

I just finished scanning the final draft, Jun2006, U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Manual, Field Manual 100-20.

Which, in a search for causes of insurgency, led me to your post, Elections and insurgencies, 12/11/2004.

The problem with counterinsurgency ops per se is that they're directed against the wrong party, the insurgents. The insurgents are the result of a failure of government. Fix the government and you've fixed the insurgency.

The first obligation of an invading army is to provide security for the civilian population. We never had enough troops to do that. The rule of thumb is 20 soldiers per 1000 population. Given Iraqs population of 20-25 million we needed 400,000-500,000 troops. It didn't get done.

A 'government' has a monopoly on force in a given area. By that definition there is no government in Iraq. There's no hope of us putting an end to the insurgency by force of arms. All we are doing is giving the insurgency a focus.

'A man must stand up, not be set up.'

Iraqis can't influence their goverment; their government is a show. Their 'government' doesn't field an army, their so-called army is a one-legged stool. The 'Iraqi Army' couldn't exist without the US Army and its contracted logistical support and the USAF.

During WWII the Nazi's ran Paris with 1500 men and the Parisian bureaucracy. The Coalition Provisional Authority failed as a government when it disbanded the existing Iraqi Army and refused to operate through the Baathist bureaucracy.

Competence is not democratic value, it's a universal value. Lacking competence, our democratic values are a hard sell. The Iraqi people have been failed twice, by the CPA, and by their USA-installed Potemkin government. The insurgency is the answer to those failures.

Counterinsurgency isn't the answer, fixing the government is.

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