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We need to be the Papa Bear.

September 12, 2010

This is what I have tried to express about Afghanistan.

Writing in Small Wars Journal, Lionel Beehner, a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University and formerly a senior writer at the Council on Foreign Relations, reminds us how the Sri Lankan government’s unrestrained use of military power crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). “Winning hearts and minds” and protecting the Tamil population were apparently not part of the Sri Lankan government’s military plan. Killing all of the LTTE’s leadership and any foot soldiers who continued to resist, regardless of the secondary consequences, seemed to be the only guidance field commanders needed to remember. The remnants of the LTTE surrendered on May 17, 2009.

What lessons does Beehner apply from this experience to the struggle in Afghanistan?

The U.S. military, given the constraints it faces and wariness of the war back home, suffers from the Goldilocks paradox: It applies just enough force to upset the locals and kill civilians, yet not enough to actually dislodge the threat and win the war. The result is a worst-of-both-worlds scenario: An angry populace and an entrenched non-state actor.

Can we either fight this war to win or bring the soldiers home and lock down the borders?

Via Foreign Policy (The article by Robert Haddick is about the drug war in Mexico.)

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 6:56 am

    It’s worse than that. Continuing to refuse to identify the enemy as “Islamic” or “Islamist” will in itself loose the war for us. I’m sick and tired of bafflegab referring to “insurgents” or “non-state actors.”

    It’d be the same as my predessors fighting in Korea refering to the North Koreans and refusing to call them communist.

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