I have heavily criticized the Afghan mission because I can’t find anyone who can define it in such a way as to make sense. What I mean by make sense is a description of something that we can actually achieve. You cannot inculcate national pride in a people who have no real sense of nationality. You cannot make a people respect borders that they don’t know exist or don’t recognize if you show them the line on a map.
Of course I am proud of our troops and grateful for the aid being given by our allies. This is called the Graveyard of Empires for a reason. That said, the Marja offensive seems to have had a major setback. Here is an excerpt from the Gray Lady.
“The approach helped turn the tide of insurgency in Iraq. But in Marja, where the Taliban seem to know everything — and most of the time it is impossible to even tell who they are — they have already found ways to thwart the strategy in many places, including killing or beating some who take the Marines’ money, or pocketing it themselves.
Just a few weeks since the start of the operation here, the Taliban have “reseized control and the momentum in a lot of ways” in northern Marja, Maj. James Coffman, civil affairs leader for the Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, said in an interview in late March. “We have to change tactics to get the locals back on our side.”
Col. Ghulam Sakhi, an Afghan National Police commander here, says his informants have told him that at least 30 Taliban have come to one Marine outpost here to take money from the Marines as compensation for property damage or family members killed during the operation in February.”