On the Afghan Air Corps development my first reaction was to question the necessity of making that a priority, particularly given how difficult it is to recruit, train, and field the ANA. On the rest, I wanted to ask what all of you thought since I'm not sure that developing an Afghan Air Corps would have the kind of legitimizing effect he argues it will.
The post concludes with:
So what do you all think?
Finally, it is my fervent belief that we simply have a flawed model of counterinsurgency. This should not be seen as a critique of operations in Afghanistan or in Iraq, but of our current national approach to the counterinsurgency problem. Our counterinsurgency strategies focus far too much on U.S. forces doing the fighting. This is a lose-lose proposition. We may be able to gut through the current fights — an increasingly likely proposition with the quality of leadership now in place. But, at present, we are in the worst of all possible situations (just as we were in Iraq in 2006 and Vietnam in 1965): we ousted the government; failed in the occupation to impose capacity and sufficient power and authority in local government; and allowed an insurgency to develop.
We now are in a position where the large-scale introduction of conventional forces is essential to stabilize the situation. Yet the mere presences of those forces simultaneously undermines the credibility of Afghanistan’s indigenous forces and government. Again, this is not to discount the success of the surge in Iraq or what I see as the likely success of the surge in Afghanistan. The Army and Marine Corps’ counterinsurgency field manual was specifically written to deal with this kind of fight. However, as Ralph Peters has stated clearly, our failure in both Iraq and Afghanistan was directly attributable to a lack of “occupation” doctrine, not a lack of counterinsurgency doctrine. The broader question we seem to have never asked is: Why is it that we are fighting counterinsurgency (”COIN”) this way and if we must support another nation facing an insurgency in the future, is this the way to do it? A far more appropriate and likely more effective model for the U.S. in counterinsurgency operations is Air Force Lt. Col. Edward Lansdale and the Huk rebellion in the Philippines (1946-1952), compared to the current COIN hero, French Army Lt. Col. David Galula in Algeria (1954-1962).