Monday, January 04, 2010

So Simple, Even a Caveman Can See it!

I've been on record as stating I don't think our situation in Afghansitan is anywhere near as bad as some reports make it out to be. War supporters are as gulty of believing this as war opponents, though for different reasons, of course.

So this statement of General McChrystal, vowing victory in Afghanistan, is interesting:

But the general said it was not possible to say how long it will take to achieve victory, which he defined as a situation where “the insurgency is not an existential threat to the government or the people” of Afghanistan. He added that protecting civilians remains the goal of the allied counterinsurgency strategy.

“There’s no way to put an exact timeline on it, because as I’ve said, the Afghan people will decide [what victory is],” McChrystal said, speaking by phone from Kabul. “[But] I believe that over the next year to 18 months that we’re going to be able to decisively change the perception of momentum and gains by the insurgents.”

Am I reading too much into this to conclude that the real objective isn't to defeat the Taliban but to make that defeat so obvious that only our press corps and Iraq victory deniers could continue to panic over the war?

I don't think I'm reading too much into that "perception" issue:

He dismissed recent claims by the Afghan Taliban that they control 80 percent of the country.

“They have presence in a number of areas, and in some areas, they have a significant amount of control,” he said. “In other areas, they have presence, but not much real control. But they are trying to give the impression to everybody that there’s this inexorable wave that’s coming, and that’s not what I see at all.”

We have to demonstrate to reporters and anyone relying on the analysis of our media that we will win the war. Which is different than winning the war.

Oh well, you go to war with the media and pundits that you have--not the media and pundits you wish you had.

UPDATE: In the interest of fairness, Cordesman writes that the war is in a crisis stage. I think he overstates the Taliban's strength, but here it is.