Tuesday, February 17, 2009

COIN = colonialism

The Guardian: Two decades after the Soviet withdrawal, ever more resources are being poured into a war with scant chance of success. At this stage of their war the Russians were preparing to leave. Now the US and NATO want to get further in... The idea that, unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is the 'right war' is a self-deluding trap. A military 'surge' may procude short-term local advances but no sustainable improvement, and it will cost the US and Britain enormous sums. Pouring in aid will take too long to win hearts and minds, and the money will mainly go to foreign consultants and corrupt officials.

AP: [In 2008] United States, NATO and Afghan forces killed 829 civilians, or 39 per cent. Of those, 552 deaths were blamed on air strikes.

Doug Saunders: Within the US military, this is known as population-centric counterinsurgency... In practice it looks and sounds a lot more like old-fashioned colonialism... There are good reasons to be suspicious of this approach. 'We do not believe in counterinsurgency,' a senior French commander tells me. 'It means the entire population has become the subject of your war, and you either will have to stay there forever or you have lost.'... I ask one one [US] officer how long it is going to take to make this new strategy bear fruit. 'Look,' he says, 'we're still in Germany and Japan 60 years after that war ended. That's how long it can take. I fully expect to have grandchildren who will be fighting out here.'

Image source here.