Before a battalion of U.S. Marines swooped into this dusty farming community along the Helmand River in early July, almost every stall in the bazaar had been padlocked, as had the school and the health clinic. Thousands of residents had fled. Government officials and municipal services were nonexistent. Taliban fighters swaggered about with impunity, setting up checkpoints and seeding the roads with bombs.In the three months since the Marines arrived, the school has reopened, the district governor is on the job and the market is bustling. The insurgents have demonstrated far less resistance than U.S. commanders expected. Many of the residents who left are returning home, their possessions piled onto rickety trailers, and the Marines deem the central part of the town so secure that they routinely walk around without body armor and helmets.You don't say. I'm no "war-buff" so I'll take wikipedia's word for it that a batallion consists of anywhere from 1,000-1,500 men. 30,000 divided by 1,000 is one soldier for every thirty civilians. This omits the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) who have returned with the USMC. Is Brian saying that all we need to do is keep the military/civilian ratio at 1/30 forever then? Because that would be silly!
Chandrasekeran provides a lot of detail, including many reasons to be skeptical about whether success can hold in Nawa
Oh, well then ... (sigh.) Brian continues:
But one thing is for sure: the people who write Afghanistan off as ungovernable or unredeemable don't know what they're talking about.Brian then goes on to link to the fucking idiot Terry Glavin, but I couldn't be bothered to read anymore stupidity in one day. Let's go back to the Chandrasekeran WaPo article again:
In this district, the war is being waged in the manner sought by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan: The number of troops went from about 100 to 1,100, and they have been countering the insurgency by focusing on improving security for local people instead of hunting down the Taliban.
The result has been a profound transformation, suggesting that after eight years of war the United States still may be able to regain momentum in some areas that had long been written off to the Taliban.
Let's be clear here: After EIGHT YEARS OF FAILURE we're to believe that the United States and NATO have solved all the problems that have bedevilled them the entire time? A corrupt, brutal government? A corrupt, failed, half-assed reconstruction? McCrystal, who went from running a torture chamber in Iraq has said that the USA will switch from killing insurgents to winning "hearts and minds." (Note to shit-heads, "hearts and minds" is an INFAMOUS expression.) McCrystal was appointed in May. In the first six-months of 2009 civilian deaths in Afghanistan have increased, from the same period in 2008. (Searching for that link I saw another link to an older story about how 2008 was the worst year for civilian casualties yet in Afghanistan.)
Look. This isn't even funny anymore. It never was. Brian, Terry, ... you know, real in-the-flesh circle-jerks are more fulfilling, and even if they were public, they'd be less cringe-inducing than the self-righteous crapola you two engage in on a daily basis.