Saturday, February 13, 2010

In the Land of the Stoner Cops

On the front lines of Obama's campaign in Afghanistan.

By Nir Rosen
Mother Jones

".....Counterinsurgency theorists obsessively study "small wars," such as the British war in Malaya, the French war in Algeria, and the wars in Vietnam. The emphasis is on using the least amount of violence against the enemy, familiarity with the local culture, and painstakingly removing popular support for the insurgents. This involves using proxy forces to kill those who cannot be "reconciled," and searching for political solutions that tempt the civilian population away from the insurgents.

In some ways, COIN and the related "stability operations" doctrine are a rejection of the neoconservative focus on military might as the key tool of foreign policy. Just as the neocons ruled the Pentagon under George W. Bush, so it seems that the proponents of "population-centric" fighting now have a preponderance of influence in the Obama administration.

To liberals, these COINdinistas, as they are dubbed, might seem kindred spirits. They emphasize nonlethal means, humanitarian aid, development work, and protecting the civilian population. They recognize that military force alone cannot solve conflicts, and that in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military did not know how to operate in a war where "the terrain is the people." But the end result is still a foreign military occupation—which is not America's stated goal in Afghanistan......."

No comments: