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Another note via the indispensable SWJ: "Dave Kilcullen will be a guest of CNN this Sunday (1 PM ET) on Fareed Zakaria's show GPS - the subject - counterinsurgency in Afghanistan."
I'll be watching, and I suggest this (and associated links) as a read ahead.
Update: Great discussion. Here's video of the first segment:
Hopefully the full video will be available online soon here.
A quick note - and this is something I've been planning to discuss further in the Minority Report series - notably (and rightfully) absent is a discussion of sending U.S. or NATO forces into the mountains (Afghanistan or Pakistan) to seek out and kill Osama bin Laden. While that was fine campaign rhetoric, as a focus of our efforts in Afghanistan ("We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority") it would be a disaster.
Read this too, it's not all about a military solution. As I said above, more details on this later.
And: Don't know if many people noticed Zakaria's attempts to control the terminology (or if you prefer, his perhaps feigned for sake of conversation misunderstanding of the issues) of the discussion ("Afghan nationalism" and "Petraeus paying off Sunni's in Iraq"), but it jumped out at me, as did his guests' refusal to let it slide. They corrected (without belaboring) the fallacies on the spot, and facilitated a discussion of real issues.
Finally (for now) one take-away from the discussion that should be understood - the characterization of the relationship between al Qaeda and the 'Big-T' Taliban, and the existence of 'small-t' talibans, about which read more here.
Well, turns out there's more after all. Glenn Reynolds:
SMALL WARS JOURNAL: How Should the U.S. Execute a Surge in Afghanistan? Michael Yon emails the link and adds: "Last time I was in Afghanistan, I mentioned an off-the-cuff number that we might need something like 50k more troops. . . . This 25-40k clearly will NOT BE ENOUGH. They pick that figure because that's all they are likely to get in their wildest dreams. Let's seal this in Iraq, and then we've got some troops!" How many troops can we support, logistically, in Afghanistan?I want to point out, in case it isn't clear, that the how many question is a followup to the how should question - I'm confident both Yon and Reynolds understand that, but the first question hasn't been answered yet. If this is the mission: "And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority" then it could take hundreds of thousands to scour the various caves and combat the outraged Pakistanis as Afghanistan collapses behind them.
Logistically we can support that, and more importantly with complete media backing of a wildly popular President we can accomplish a lot before the American people give up (if they ever do). As I've noted (cautioned, actually) repeatedly, that scenario (while it may not be apparent initially that we're right) could be a big economy-booster too. (Still, I'd prefer a smaller number with a different focus.)
Meanwhile, in news you might not have known: "The DoD has also announced that the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, which had been based in northwest Baghdad, will return home six weeks early. The unit that was scheduled to replace them will deploy to Afghanistan instead."
I believe they'll get there before Christmas.