It seems like every so many years we develop a new political jargon. 'At-the-end-of-the-day' was popular throughout the 90's and into the first of the new millennium. 'Closure' seemed like it would be with us forever. As it pertains to wars and strategies, this decade has it's 'Processes'. This is what happens to people who choose to be non-committal but wish to be seen as determined and retain power; you develop a language that isn't really a language but a, well, process of demagoguery through creative speech. A process in itself.
Men of action have always been deliberate and willing to tell you their intentions. My belief is that true men of action still are. So if what we are hearing from politicians and their appointees sounds less than deliberate or well defined, you would have to draw the conclusion that they are not deliberate men, or, men of action. If a General in an Army is not deliberate or a man of action; of what value is he as the Leader of an organization with an active mission?
'For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?' 1 Corinthians 14:8
A friend sent me this link to a story that ran in the San Francisco Gate about the a Congressional Committee meeting yesterday, the 15th of June. General Petraeus was answering questions about the progress of the war/unwar in Afghanistan and about dates for withdrawal/draw-down. (During the questioning, he 'fainted' apparently from a case of dehydration.) He was asked about the administration's publicized drawn-down date of July 2011. When pressed about the wisdom of determining a future draw-down date in what is at best a fluid situation, the General said it was a 'Process'. That is political speak for; 'don't hold me to it'.
This meeting comes after a series of questionable reports from Afghanistan both from the media and from the upper echelon leadership that seemed unable to determine the state of Kandahar, the likely success of the coming operation there, the level of 'support' for the operation by the 'innocent and put-upon' Afghan civilian population there, COIN, the usefulness of ANA, et al. In fact the only thing not questioned was the act of questioning itself. At the beginning of the week there appeared to be a consensus that the 'operation' would be delayed and 'reconceived'. By Wednesday the administration had announced, through SecDef, that NATO had regained control from the Taliban?! So to suggest the good General was under a little stress would in itself suggest understatement.
There still seems to be a complete disconnect in Congress from the realities on the ground in Afghanistan. After scouring the internet, I could not find one example of a question leveled at the General questioning whether or not the overall strategy was indeed successful and by what measure it was determined to be? And this after one of the deadliest weeks for ISAF in the 8 year war. It causes me to question just what kind of catastrophe would have to strike in order to have that question raised?
Let's remember that within the COIN paradigm, the 'friendly' elements are the 'innocent' population and their government. The fact that we are expending resources to investigate the corruption of the government in Kabul that are supposed to be used to ID the enemy, their purpose and their capability suggests that 'paradigm' ain't working out so well. Add to that, the stories that are coming out that tell us what we have always known; that the civilians there are more aligned with the Taliban than they are with us and the next great question is; why isn't Congress questioning the strategy itself?
Could it be that garnering a working and historically correct view of the Islamic world is a 'process' within the halls of Congress? If it is; how long will that take and can we afford to wait on them to be finally enlightened about what any High School student in the nineteenth century knew?
What I do know is that there are limits. The entire legal system of this country aside, there is a limit to what the American public - the thinking segment of the American public, is willing to tolerate. Even the most 'tolerant' person in this country will eventually have a hard time justifying the continual shedding of American blood for a people who haven't shown any interest in improving their lot in life, in their entire history. A people who still cling to the demonically spawned ideology that demands the murder of all who do not submit to Allah. An ideology that shows no deference or tolerance for any other religion and actively seeks to kill the proponents of those religions.
The fact is, you really can't teach an old dog new tricks and you can't drag the unrepentant out of the dark ages and that isn't what we went in there for anyway. We went to Afghanistan to kill the dirt bags that planned and carried out the events of September 11th, 2001 and to hold their hosts (the Taliban), accountable.
Hey General; to prevent dehydration, drink plenty of liquid and reduce stress; preferably by listening to your conscience, before answering deliberate questions with less than deliberate answers!
Semper Fidelis;John Bernard