Bing West sums up the Afghanistan campaign

August 31, 2011

Another must-read from West at Foreign Affairs:

Regardless of how the war turns out, the military lessons learned will be negative; the conflict has dragged on far too long to be considered a strategic success. Unlike in the years after World War II, the generals of this day will not gain in historical stature. The popularity of the idea of counterinsurgency as nation building reached its zenith when Iraq was stabilized in 2008. At the time, the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency warriorintellectuals were in vogue. As happened to their predecessors after the Vietnam War, however, their concepts of war fighting will come to be rejected by the younger generation of company-grade officers who had to execute a flawed doctrine. No matter their skills and good intentions, foreign troops cannot persuade the people of another nation to reject insurgents in their midst. The people must convince themselves — and be willing to sacrifice for that conviction.

As always, read the whole thing.

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