That said, I watched Zero's speech last night at West Point regarding his long-delayed decision on what to do in Afghanistan.
One thing struck me during the speech--the Cadets. Maybe I'm just seeing things through my own prism, but the shots of the audience showed me blank, uninterested faces. I'm certain that the Cadet Corps was ordered to fill the auditorium, and that doesn't surprise me in the least. But during the speech, they appeared to be less-than-enthusiastic about both being there and the message they were hearing. (One caveat: After the speech, Zero did the rope-line thingi, and there were a handful of Cadets who were there shaking his hand, and taking his picture.)
I do like Captain Ed's take on things this morning. He read the transcript, so he wouldn't have the observation that I did, but generally, I have to agree, and especially with this point...
...In defining our mission’s expiration date as 18 months, Obama has undermined whatever good the counterinsurgency strategy will do. For COIN to work, forces have to “flood the zone,” but they also have to build trust with locals and encourage better intel. The only way to do that is to impress on locals the notion that we’re sticking around....I just love the internet. There are a lot of really, really talented people out there who are not only talented in their fields, but can write about their fields, and we can read their thoughts without the filters of the (largely stupid) media. One blog I check in on regularly is The Captain's Journal. Maybe it was there, or perhaps somewhere else (I also check in with Michael Yon, The Long War Journal, and others) that I saw a point that the Afghans look at our forces there and wonder: Americans build tents. They're not here to stay.
But it was at The Captain's Journal that I saw this point:
And Zero has just allowed the insurgents to set their watches. As Captain Ed said,
“You [Westerners] have the watches, but we Afghans have the time,” Gulab Mangal, the governor of Helmand province, has been quoted as saying at a recent gathering.
Even as the Americans are proud of the progress made here, there is a sense that all could be lost quickly if the U.S. military leaves prematurely.
“I think we’re succeeding in Nawa, but like the elders say, if we leave, it will all be wasted,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Reggie Fox, a member of an 82nd Airborne platoon assigned to mentor Afghan security forces. “The insurgents aren’t dumb. They want to outlast the American population.”
Having an 18-month timetable may or may not be a mistake, but announcing one is a terrible blunder in wartime.and
That’s no way to fight a war.I agree entirely.