You are hereBlogs / dlindorff's blog / The Fog Rolls in for the Afghanistan Assessment

The Fog Rolls in for the Afghanistan Assessment


By dlindorff - Posted on 22 September 2010

By John Grant

At the beginning of the Iraq “surge” in 2007, Senator Barack Obama was leery of General David Petraeus, but now, we learn, he has warmed to the four-star Pentagon celebrity and calls him “Dave.”

In meetings, according to an anonymous White House official, when the talk is of Afghanistan, Petraeus “always brings up Iraq” and the surge there, The New York Times reports.

By all accounts a very savvy politician always aware of his image, it is not strange that Petraeus would remind people of the thing he is most revered for, which is the so-called “surge” in Anbar Province of Iraq, the strategy that turned a hemorrhaging disaster into a stabilized, suppurating wound.

Now, he is doing the same thing in Afghanistan – except Afghanistan is politically and culturally about six centuries behind Iraq.

When US military counter-insurgency operations reach the latter stages and public questioning and opposition increase, the challenge is to get the “metrics” right – or as the Times recently put it, to develop “new and better ways to measure success or setbacks.”

In the 1980s, during the El Salvador counter-insurgency war, as paramilitary death-squads were literally littering the streets with bodies, the Reagan administration was required by Congress every six months to “certify” that progress was being made.

To no one’s surprise, it did exactly that. The challenge turned out to be easy. They didn’t have to show that things were rosy and life was secure; all they had to do was come up with some formulation to convince Congress things were improving in some small way.

One of the sad turns-of-event in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that Reagan’s small, murderous war in Central America against the poor is now used as a model of sorts for the hunter/killer teams so successfully employed as a “secret weapon” in the Iraq “surge.” Due to that success, they are now being used in beefed-up form in the Afghan “surge.” Defenders of the current wars even use the phrase “the Salvador model” to refer to our assassination strategy.

What made Lt. General Stanley McChrystal famous was his secret management of this “secret weapon,” the special operations hunter/killer teams that, like their more crude predecessor in Vietnam, the Phoenix Program, located and captured or killed people deemed leaders in the enemy camp, those people deemed “irreconcilable.”...

For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent journalist-run online newspaper, please go to:
ThisCantBeHappening!

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.