I didn't intend to blog on politics today, and as both of the readers of my blog have probably noticed, I have avoided commenting on the new administration because I know I don't have anything good to say. However, watching the news this morning, the war in Afghanistan has become a hot topic, and it concerns me deeply.
The administration is planning a surge in troops there. They've been talking about that for months, at least. That's not news. What is news if you look deeper is that they're trying to do it all the wrong way. They're talking about increasing the number of troops there dramatically. Heard that before? They're talking about mechanizing it, bringing in tanks and other armor. Sound familiar? They're planning to bring in infantry is large numbers. Does that ring a bell?
What's the problem here? More troops means more fighting ability in the battle space, doesn't it? The Soviets used somewhere between 80,000 and a little over 100,000 troops there, most of which were conventional infantry (the 40th Army, IIRC). They brought tanks and armored personnel carriers, artillery and lots of trucks. They ended up leaving quite a lot of it there, too.
This isn't a conventional war. The conflict in Afghanistan is Unconventional Warfare. As such, and as was already proven by the take down of the country in a matter of weeks, it is a mission that is the very definition of a Special Forces mission. Not the CIF, not any other direct action unit, but a straight up, textbook Special Forces mission.
If you're not familiar with what SF does, their job is Unconventional Warfare, including FID (Foreign Internal Defense) and creating insurgencies. Their tasking is to either stabilize or destabilize a country and either foment or put down rebellion, depending on the situation. These are the guys that, along with the Northern Alliance, took down the Taliban in a matter of weeks. According to most accounts from people who were there, the reason that OBL and the Taliban weren't crushed completely is that conventional forces got involved and didn't let SF do what they do. See the books Ghost Wars, Masters of Chaos, and The Mission, The Men and Me.
Nations continue to get in the way of what they do well. This is no exception. We have the perfect force to fight this war, and aren't allowing them to run with it. Now, to be fair (I know, its hard to believe I'm saying that), this situation didn't unfold entirely on the watch of the Obamanation. They are, however, going to be the ones that perpetuate it. Why is that? Well, because he has no experience and has surrounded himself with cronies and Clinton administration retreads.
Increasing the number of troops isn't the answer. Decreasing them might be, if the Powers What Be would allow the organization most able to do this job to do it completely. Unfortunately, there are bureaucrats that won't allow that to happen, because it doesn't make them look good. And then it's political business as usual, rather than selling out to win the fight. In the end, I'll blame the Obamanation. Again.
2 years ago