Thursday, August 19, 2010

Best Military Advice, continued

Apparently, Petraeus's slide explaining how the transition should work in Afghanistan.  I miss the acronym heavy environment that is NATO.  Anyhow, it is interesting to see what Petraeus is pushing against:
  • decisions based on preferences of the folks at the top (Obama, NATO, Karzai).
  • time-based (milestones, not benchmarks).
  • just pulling out.
  • transition for transition sake.
Of course, the best military advice, which this may be, may not become political decisions (especially since the process at the top includes places where consensus is required--NAC means North Atlantic Council).  The key question is the first issue--conditions-based.  Will the conditions on the ground in Afghanistan really drive events or will the requirements of domestic politics?  Moreover, while there is some debate about how much progress the Afghan National Army has made over the years implying some potential for modest transitions, there is consensus that there has been no real progress on the Afghan National Police.  And that means local level conditions are not advancing enough to really transition to an Afghan-led effort.

Mike Lombardi, formerly of the National Football post and now at the NFL's website and network is fond of repeating the maxim that hope is not a plan and the two should not be confused.  Well, is this a plan or is this wishful thinking?  I lean a bit towards the latter.  And I am not optimistic about the parliamentary elections next month.

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