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11 November 2011

The 19 Things Our Generals in Afghanistan Know Are True But Cannot Say in Public

Like Maetenloch says, many are plain common sense, but that doesn't stop politicians from avoiding the truth.


As compiled by Thomas E. Ricks based on information he's received from insiders and Afghan veterans. Some of these I would quibble with but most seem seem straightforwardly obvious. After nearly a decade of fighting in Afghanistan we have a lot invested in the outcome, but I can't see a good ending when we're unable to speak honestly about the true situation and our long-term goals there.
  • Pakistan is now an enemy of the United States.
  • We don't know why we are here, what we are fighting for, or how to know if we are winning.
  • The strategy is to fight, talk, and build. But we're withdrawing the fighters, the Taliban won't talk, and the builders are corrupt.
  • Karzai's family is especially corrupt.
  • We want President Karzai gone but we don't have a Pushtun successor handy.
  • But the problem isn't corruption, it is which corrupt people are getting the dollars. We have to help corruption be more fair.
  • Another thing we'll never stop here is the drug traffic, so the counternarcotics mission is probably a waste of time and resources that just alienates a swath of Afghans.
  • Making this a NATO mission hurt, not helped. Most NATO countries are just going through the motions in Afghanistan as the price necessary to keep the US in Europe
  • Yes, the exit deadline is killing us.

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