Cold war thinking.

Still more troops needed, says Petraeus.

Yes, that right. What can’t be accomplished with 60,000 soldiers will be accomplished with 80,000. Or maybe 100,000. That’s what we’ve been doing wrong. Does that last line of the General, ‘for the first time…’, does that not strike you as kind of outrageous? That in essence, the reason for our failure so far, is that we have not killed enough enemies.

Maybe in a conventional war, that reasoning might hold. Say, WWII. But here and now, that is old thinking, cold-war thinking: more men, more guns, more bullets, more killing. That is what it amounts to right? More killing. Let us call it for what it is. Not ‘kinetic action’ which is how the officials at the Department of Defence in Canberra refer to it, in a perfect example of Orwellian Newspeak. Or ‘Degradation of Hostile capacity’. Killing. You don’t bring in more soldiers unless that is where you see the solution.

To those of us here on the ground, this is complete idiocy, and an increasing number of military and intelligence people think so too, not the mention the average public. This issue was well put in a recent article, ‘Hearts and Minds and Blood and Honor’, but a few lines from it will do here:

“It’s never been clear to me exactly how a massive foreign military occupation translates to a stable, secure and democratic society in Afghanistan. How does one lead to the other, how do we get from A to B?…The special forces operatives kicking in some random Afghan’s door at 3 in the morning – how are they solving the endemic corruption? The bombers, gunships, and drones pounding Afghan villages – how do these contribute to a sense of hope and security for Afghan citizens?”

More pertinently, how do 3000 or so aid workers across the country compete with 100,000 men in uniform?


3 thoughts on “Cold war thinking.

  1. You guys are constantly in our thoughts, prayers, conversation… lots of love to all you lovely Sparrows, from all of us. Miss you.
    – Ian

  2. Hi Phil,
    I’ve started following your blog recently, and can already see myself digging unremittingly into some of your older posts I’ve missed. Would like to you let you know that the time I spent working with you (though only for a short period) was truly invaluable – it has influenced my thinking on many levels – and reading your blog is inspirational. Thank you for what you have been & are still doing all along and good luck for everything.

    • Hi Wei
      Thanks for the note – glad you are reading. There is a fair bit about life in Perth I am already missing, but hopefully we’ll find our stride here soon. It is hard to believe that there are even more restrictions than there were two years ago, but there are…
      Say hi to CARAD folk, if you see them. P

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