Friday, August 6, 2010

A perspective on military strategy

This reporter clearly has her agenda, and says a number of things which I think are unprompted and untrue about America. However, she has spent a lot of time with both civilians and the military in Afghanistan, and she makes an interesting observation. Given her perspective (an older lady with an axe to grind), I'm interested in whether it's true:
"One drawback is that -- though it's a hard point for American soldiers in the line of fire to grasp -- [using state-of-the-art military machinery] actually undercuts our heralded COIN strategy.  Afghans out there fighting in their cotton pajamas take Western reliance on heavy armor as a measure of our fear -- not to mention the inferiority of our gods on whose protection we appear unwilling to rely.  (By contrast, the watchman at the small Afghan National Army base adjacent to the FOB I was visiting slept on a cot on the roof, exposed to enemy fire with his tea kettle beside him, either trusting his god, or maybe knowing something we don't about the "enemy.")"
She also notes that since the US military adopted COIN, civilian casualties have gone up 23%, and notes the cultural difficulties in eliciting cooperation between American soldiers (mostly males between 18 and mid 20s) and Afghan elders who view frat humor very differently.

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