July 26, 2011
By FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY, Counterpunch
Beaulieu Sur Mer, France
The old German army had a term of art for describing the US strategy in Afghanistan: nicht schwerpunckt, meaning there is no center of effort or unifying idea around which to shape and coordinate the ever-changing kaleidoscope of supporting efforts as well as the tactical and grand tactical maneuvers, and counter maneuvers, all of which are, or should be, the reflections of a coherent strategy. The lack of coherence can be seen in the fact that over time our strategic aims have become increasingly unfocused and mutable: How can we be engaged in nation building when we are propping up a corrupt government that will never be able to survive on its own? Are we trying to destroy the Taliban or are we trying to negotiate with the Taliban? Are we trying to find an exit strategy or are we trying to establish conditions for a permanent presence to keep out Al Qaeda or the Chinese, the Iranians, the Pakistanis, or someone else? Is the absence of focus a reflection of a general impulse to empire as many libertarians believe or the unpredictable interplay of money with domestic politics or both? Etc.
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Our current training and education system is broken, and my guys are being forced to learn OJT or go home without their limbs. I think all this technology and contracting/etc is like trying to put a band-aid on an arterial bleed…and the dinosaurs in charge don’t understand why it isn’t working. They keep buying more band-aids instead of applying a tourniquet and doing surgery. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?”
Phi Beta Iota: Daniel Elsberg’s lecturing of Henry Kissinger come to mind as worth repeating.
The danger is, you’ll become like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours” [because of your blind faith in the value of your narrow and often incorrect secret information].