RANGER AGAINST WAR: Good Neighbors <

Friday, August 07, 2009

Good Neighbors

Why, I can smile and murder whiles I smile
--Henry VI
, Shakespeare

Here is another contradiction in the heart of Counterinsurgency. The NY Times reports,

"For the last five months, a troop of American soldiers has ensconced itself in the heart of the district’s largest town, living alongside its police officers and public officials, trying to win friends as it struggles to root out enemies (Neighbors by Day and Soldiers by Night in Afghan District.)

Why are troops living alongside Afghan police? Police functions and military operations are different concepts. Moreover, troops indicates the presence of armored cavalry types -- not exactly COIN specialists. Why are U.S. combat troops running around AFPAK in this CI/CT operation?

"The Afghan and American forces searched four homes before sending the detainees to an American base for questioning"

If this were a real COIN effort, the detainee would be questioned and detained by the Afghan authorities. If the U.S. military is detaining Afghan civilians, how does this add up to a COIN strategy and how does it arrive at victory?

"Major Polk said he thought villagers were willing to accept some intrusions if they thought it meant greater security."
Who is the heck is Major Polk and how does he know the minds of the Afghan people? He is an Army officer trying to justify unjustifiable actions. The truth of Maj. Polk's denial comes in the final line:

“We could sit here in our outpost and just do patrols and never get anywhere except have people shoot at us and blow us up.”

A little intelligence indicator -- if people are shooting at you and trying to blow you up, then it is possible the population is hostile. Shoot or be shot; when you are a nail. . .

A revealing statement of the situation on the ground came from some Afghan women who, when
"questioned by an interpreter said that they were glad the Americans had accompanied the Afghan police officers. Alone, those officers would steal from them, the women said." The police, military and civil corruption which is rampant in AFPAK is underwritten by U.S. actions in theatre.

The Major and his unit, Able Troop, are not able to see what is really happening in the area the are occupying, because they must not. They are living a cliche.

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