Readers of this site are famliar with John Bernard, the 26-year-veteran of the USMC whose son Lance Corp. Joshua Bernard was killed in August while fighting in Afghanistan. In a powerful essay at his blog, Let Them Fight, John Bernard examines Gen. McChrystal's "counterinsurgency" strategy of population protection through the prism of military history and finds its chances of success dim, to say the least.
What we have here is the General involved in a great social experiment, with the plains of Afghanistan as his personal laboratory and our Marines and Soldiers as the rats.
Yes. This is the problem. Social engineers as generals. It's nothing new -- witness, for example, the forced feminization of the military going back peacetime decades -- but the consequences in time of war are different.They end up in hospital wards and cemeteries, and the long-term impact of it, at least this time around, has yet to take shape. Vietnam, of course, didn't work out so well, as Bernard notes. And the parrallels, particularly in terms of social experimentation, are unmistakable. (See here how closely the "pacification" policy in Vietnam,1968, tracks the "population protection" policy in Afghanistan, 2009.)
History is not on your side, General, and you are losing time and the support of the only segment of the population of this country who would normally support your efforts....
What General McChrystal, Sec Def Gates and President Obama need to remember is that they are sworn by oath to defend this country and our people - not protect the civilian population of another country or rebuild their country with our tax dollars and the blood of our children!
Read it all here.