We Won’t Long Be Weak… We Hope
Bing West takes a look at counterinsurgency in the era of Obama the Weak. Here’s the critical part:
Our battalions are spending too much time on nation building: Every battalion gives a briefing that shows security as only one of its four Lines of Operation, or LOOs. Security, they say, is no more important than governance, economics, or the rule of law. That military catechism is a fantasy, because the tribal response to all these well-meant priorities has not been commensurate with our efforts.
Nation building by LOOs was also part of our military doctrine in Iraq, but it does not explain our success in that insurgency. True, the Sunnis did eventually rebel against al-Qaeda and the Islamist extremists, but they did not come over because of improved governance; in fact, they loathed the American-installed Shiite regime in Baghdad.
Instead, they decided to join the Americans because we were the strongest tribe. I asked Abu Risha, who led the Sunni tribal rebellion, why it took three years of blood and fighting before the Sunnis came over. He said, “You Americans could not convince us; we had to convince ourselves.” When they joined up, it was on the premise that the Americans would be staying. But that is not the case in Afghanistan. The Taliban repeat President Obama’s pledge that we are leaving soon, so the people stand aside.
One smells the arrogant odor of the university and its rigged system of rewards for the dominant ideology in such strategies as declaring our certain intention to leave a battlefield by a certain date. More broadly, such an approach to international affairs could only be conceived by a ruling class for whom “failure” means moving from one lightweight job to another. Or, when things go really badly, departing to spend more time with the family.
If 9/11 wrenched us back from our “vacation from history,” one can only hope that enough Americans recognize that we’re currently operating in accordance with a pure fantasy in order to prevent an even worse wake-up call.