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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:12 PM

Petraeus' Fatal Flaw: The Disastrous and Failed Afghanistan 'Surge' (Manchester Guardian)

General David Petraeus's fatal flaw: not the affair, but his Afghanistan surge

The CIA director's resignation over a sex scandal has obscured how badly his counterinsurgency strategy failed in Afghanistan

More than three years ago, I sat in an overflow room in Washington, DC's Willard Hotel listening to General David Petraeus explain (pdf) how the only solution for the failing war in Afghanistan was a "comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy", modeled after the one that had allegedly achieved so much success in Iraq.

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......like Petraeus's career, COIN and its usefulness as a tool for US military planners now lies in tatters.....

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.....it's ironic that Petraeus is likely to be remembered more for that one personal act rather than his most grave professional mistake namely, that same counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan for which he was one of Washington's most influential proponents.....

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......the quintessential example of the blinders and hubris that were so pervasive among COIN boosters and, in particular, Petraeus. They were convinced that the surge in Iraq and the use of counterinsurgency tactics there had turned the tide. But as we know now and should have even been aware then the reality was far more complicated.....

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.....the assumptions of COIN advocates were badly flawed and based on unrealistic views of what the US could accomplish. It failed to take account the key ways in which Afghanistan differed from Iraq: the resilience of and public support for the Taliban insurgency; the presence of safe havens across the border; the incompetence of the central government in Kabul; the delusion that US soldiers could be turned into miniature anthropologists with the wherewithal to have a full appreciation of Afghan cultural idiosyncrasies; and finally, an abject refusal to factor in the lack of political support in the United States for a drawn-out counterinsurgency campaign.....

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.....Petraeus was wrong badly wrong. And more than 1,000 American soldiers, and countless more Afghan civilians, have paid the ultimate price for his over-confidence in the capabilities of US troops.....

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....(he)...force the president's hand on approving a surge force for Afghanistan and the concurrent COIN strategy.....

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......Perhaps worst of all, he sought to hinder the implementation of a political strategy for ending the war, seeking, instead, a clear military victory against the Taliban....

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......The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were more than just bad strategy; they reflected poor military tactics and generalship. Self-interested and incomplete interpretations of what happened in Iraq led to predictably disastrous results in Afghanistan.

Perhaps we should spend a bit more time looking at that issue, rather who was sleeping with whom.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/13/general-david-petraeus-flaw-surge-afghanistan


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Reply Petraeus' Fatal Flaw: The Disastrous and Failed Afghanistan 'Surge' (Manchester Guardian) (Original post)
amborin Nov 2012 OP
Dark n Stormy Knight Nov 2012 #1
amborin Nov 2012 #2
Dark n Stormy Knight Nov 2012 #4
appal_jack Nov 2012 #3

Response to amborin (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:24 PM

1. Wonder if this would have played out any differently if he had been Romney's VP pick, as some Cons

had hoped.

The most recent conservative flight-of-fancy is a rumor that General David Petraeus may be tapped to be Mitt Romney's pick for the VP slot on the ticket. Like former Secretary or State Condoleezza Rice, Petraeus is too good of a pick to be true.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/12433/david-petraeus-for-vice-president-is-too-good-to-be-true

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:28 PM

2. Petraeus seduced the MSM first and foremost; he sought them out, and they idolized him eom

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Response to amborin (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:34 AM

4. Careful, it appears it's dangerous to speak ill of the General:

Col. Westhusing was the Army's chief ethicist and someone who suspected something was wrong with David Petraeus, way back when. Then, just when he was about to come home to his loving wife and family, he became a suicide.


From this DU thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021777389

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Response to amborin (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:47 PM

3. k&r - much more important than the sex - n/t

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