Boston Globe (our favorite serious newspaper)
By Andrew Wilder September 16, 2009
ARTIST: (Christopher Serra for The Boston Globe)
IN APRIL, the US Army published the “Commander’s Guide to Money as a Weapons System,’’ a handbook that provides guidance on how to use aid funding to win the support of the “indigenous population to facilitate defeating the insurgents.’’ This summer the US government indicated that it plans to nearly double (to $1.2 billion) the main fund military commanders in Afghanistan use to support projects intended to “win hearts and minds.’’
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In fact, our research shows just the opposite. Instead of winning hearts and minds, Afghan perceptions of aid and aid actors are overwhelmingly negative. And instead of contributing to stability, in many cases aid is contributing to conflict and instability.
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Significantly, the main cause of insecurity identified by most Afghans we interviewed was not poverty, or a lack of reconstruction, or even the Taliban, but their highly corrupt and ineffective government.
Phi Beta Iota: Everything going wrong in Afghanistan was known in advance. As we wrote in the 1990’s, the chasm between those in power and those with knowledge has grown catastrophic. That was then. Now it is beyond catastrophic. Nothing the US Government is doing world-wide, or domestically, is rooted in the application of intelligence (decision-support). It is all ideologically-driven, rooted in corrupt partisan politics. Whole of Government strategy and policy is a chimera, a fiction, not to be found here at this time.