General Badass

A Special Forces guy with the name of Dalton Fury sounds almost cliche. Nick Fury is cliche, but Dalton Fury is a real soldier and he knows LT Gen Stanley McChrystal, the newly appointed U.S. NATO commander in Afghanistan. After reading the article, if I were to describe McChrystal in one word, that word would be badass. Whether he’s the right man for the job, I’ll reserve judgment, but he sounds as good as any.

If Barack Obama doesn’t want to be known as President Halfass in this WAMI, he should be sending more troops to Afghanistan, as Herschel Smith makes clear:

There has been robust debate among counterinsurgency experts over where to deploy the additional troops, or even what justification to use for more troops.

Here is the justification. Until we deploy the right number of troops in the places where the Taliban have sanctuary, rest, recruit, raise their revenue, and interdict our lines of logistics, we will not bring this campaign to a satisfactory outcome. Deployment of additional troops to ensure that Hamid Karzai continues to be the mayor of Kabul doesn’t help anything.

There is a huge and time sensitive problem with force size and lines of logistics. But despite what the counterinsurgency experts are saying, until and unless we deploy enough troops in the places where the Taliban roam, we will not succeed.

Smith linked to Patrick Cockburn, one of the chief apologists for Muqtada al Sadr, but if he’s having trouble getting around Afghanistan, I’ll take his word for it.

Speaking of the AfPak theater, Greg Bruno at CFR writes about the information war:

With overwhelming firepower, Western armies rarely lose in combat to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. But in the communications battle, the militants appear to hold the edge. The gap has grown especially wide in the Afghan war zone, analysts say. Using FM transmitters, the Internet, and threatening notes known as “night letters” (TIME), Taliban operating from the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan have proven effective at either cowing citizens or winning them over to their message of jihad.

The Taliban is better at getting its message out than the most prosperous nation in human history. Something’s wrong with this picture. We definitely lost the information battle after the May 4th airstrikes in Funar province, when 140 civilians were reportedly killed. It won’t matter if it turns out that the death toll is less than 140, or that some of those numbers were militants, or that the Taliban killed some or most of those civilians. That mediaspace was lost. One way to keep from losing these information battles is to cut way back on drone strikes and air strikes. On drone attacks, David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum make a convincing case.

For the folks who have tried to equate the Soviet occupation to the current NATO presence, Bruce Reidel offers a history lesson, but there is one similarity: the role played by Pakistan, more specifically, the ISI. Along those lines, maybe AfPak should be PakAf, since most of the militant Islamists and leaders are in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Meantime, the civil war in Pakistan has caused the internal displacement of 1.5 million. No wonder the ISI is hedging.