Saturday, August 06, 2011 6:16 AM
Marine BG John Toolan: More stuff for Afghans ... or else.
At the very end of this story lies the money quote on the thunking bankruptcy, military and political, of the American strategy in Afghanistan. It is the bankruptcy of Petraeus-McChrystal-Bush-Obama-Petraeus "population-centric COIN," as Brig. Gen. Lewis Craparotta of Task Force Leatherneck still calls it, and no, it hasn't been phased out.
From this week's Signon San Diego story:
The Camp Pendleton Marines fighting in Sangin from the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment repelled insurgent attempts to retake the town, Craparotta said, and they expanded west, east, and north toward the Kajaki dam. The dam is a strategic target of the insurgents because it supplies electricity to Helmand and Kandahar, and controls flooding in an area known as Afghanistan’s bread basket.
“We have gotten a little more breathing room for the population,” Craparotta said.
Afghan officials announced in July that installation of a long-awaited third turbine in the Kajaki dam will finally proceed.
The Marines predict that they will be able to secure the area beyond the dam by autumn so the project may begin, along with additional road paving and dozens of other developments.
What was that about a debt ceiling?
Ultimately, such efforts will be more important to defeating the insurgency than the military might of U.S. or Afghan troops, [Marine Maj. Gen. John]Toolan said.
Here we go again.
Toolan, fyi, is commander of some 30,000 American and coalition forces in southwestern Afghanistan, including Helmand and Nimroz provinces. A very important military man, in other words, and, as such, he, too, is a population-centric COIN-bot. Repeat after me: “It’s really the ability of the government to deliver goods and services that will win the people over and give legitimacy to the whole government,” Toolan actually said, his lips somehow forming the creaky, rusted-out canard of never-never COIN-land, producing the call of hearts and minds and unicorns and bribery that is never enough, that, for the better part of a decade now, has been killing our best for nothing more than a cracked chunk of rubble. Meanwhile, back in Pakistan ... Meanwhile, back in Central and South America ...
But the only thing that matters to our leadership are the feelings and roads and dams and rec centers of the misogynist, pederast, polygamist and Islamic supremacist tribes of Afghanistan.
If they can’t deliver, the people will turn against them toward the Taliban.
Who cares? If the US and the West put in place even the minimally sensible immigration and travel restrictions demanded by thie era of expansionist Islam via jihad and the press of sharia (Islamic law), it wouldn't matter what Afghanistan was, Talliban-governed or, as it is now, sharia-based (sharia is the basis of the US-enabled Afghanoistan constitution). But even the kind of restrictions we've historically placed on travel to and from Cuba, Iran, the Soviet bloc, etc., particularly during times of hostilities, isn't considered. Isn't analyzed. Isn't imagined. Same goes for the COIN-replacing counter-terrorist strategy advocated by retired Army Gen. Paul Vallely.
Nope, it is the tunnel-vision of the COIN-bots that defines our horizon: More stuff for Afghans -- dams, roads, walking-around-money, Viagra -- or else. If "the government" -- i.e., Uncle Sucker, currently broke himself, masquerading as Karzai -- stops, Toolan says:
“There will be a chink in the armor, and the insurgents will walk back in.”
There's a chink in the armor, all right, and it looks
But there's also hole in the head.