Andy Card is wrong yet again. The best time to roll out a new product is not the Fall. It’s Black Friday when Americans on the home front surge to battle for the latest in meaningless Chinese electronic trinkets and other ephemera. No wonder Card ran an automobile trade association.
Days after President Obama outlines his new war strategy in a speech Tuesday, as many as 9,000 Marines will begin final preparations to deploy to southern Afghanistan and renew an assault on a Taliban stronghold that slowed this year amid a troop shortage and political pressure from the Afghan government, senior U.S. officials said.
Sadly, our worst fears about this Administration and its national security team are true. The initial deployment has one small silver lining. The Marines are going in first. It may not matter but one can never truly abandon hope.
Long before McChrystal and the dangerously incestuous, in-bred theater chain of command glommed their report together, the Marines learned a core component of the celebrated strategy was worthless. Lessons from Iraq do *not* carry over to Afghanistan. Marines as usual are quick to adapt to new truths.
President General Petreus et al. one can’t cut and paste a counter-insurgency strategy. In Iraq, one controls an urban center and thereby influences the surrounding farm land. The Marines in 2009 learned what we’ve all discussed together here at length — in Afghanistan, the two are unrelated. Control of a city has no impact at all on the surrounding countryside. Something the Soviets’ fiasco makes blatantly clear. We’re not surprised the Marines again are faster on the uptake than the Army for a number of reasons. Although even the Army in its slow way is finding reality far different from CENTCOM PowerPoint slides.
What the Marines learned already likely will be for naught. The ‘strategy’ is set. Perhaps that’s why it all now feels like a car accident – time slows down and then one stops fighting and just waits out the agonizingly slow nano seconds until impact.