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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Reservoir of Trust

Tom Ricks is right. Read Yon about Adam Ray.
It's hard to believe that Yon has been eyes-and-ears for six years now.

So, after six years of blundering ahead in Afghanistan under Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice, one has to ask the impenetrable question:

Is the reservoir of trust remaining among the public sufficient for this newest campaign, our next Great Leap Forward, at the fantastic price in blood and treasure that we are paying for it?

Tom Ricks just recently outlined some fancy metrics for success, as given by the Brian Trust.

However, with three mini buses of civilians bombed, one wonders how the chaos can end, once started. This is not Iraq. The Afghani people are not as educated and their 'common history' as a nation is far behind them (lost since the early 1980s, probably).

We don't have access to the metrics the military is tracking but, broad brush, back-of-the-envelop:

  • -The Danes are leaving, after two extensions of their commitment(s).
  • -The Afghan army is "behind"
  • -The all-important attitudes among populace are ... its impossible to generalize (McChrystal is hopeful, but tangible evidence of progress is hard to come by).
  • -The government got barely half its proposed cabinet members approved
  • -We now have a wider footprint than ever to defend (with logistics and logistical costs that are staggering)
  • -Iraq is pasted together (Petreaus has invented "Iraq-cracy" to describe their governance) to the point that it is still not clear if we can be 100% confident that drawdown is "correct".
  • -There are 14 months left on the 'original timetable' for the Afghan double-down.

  • -We've made progress in Pakistan, at the cost of sharing prized technology and many killed, on both sides
  • -Despite progress against Taliban, no one seems to have a clear idea whether their resources or willingness is finite
  • -One-eyed Omar is still at large