By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 31, 2009
This week’s Mashup features jumps back and forth, between the past and present.
I did an online search for “the last days of the Taliban,” after running across this cover for Time magazine’s Dec. 17, 2001 edition. Hard to believe the cover ran in 2001. Here are a few other interesting reads from the past:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai did a few interviews with Time magazine. I read one from 2004 and another from 2008. Both are interesting. The following is a quote from Karzai’s 2004 interview. While reading this quote in particular, I found myself doublechecking the 2004 date posted online—could have run this year, five years later.
“The demands of the Afghans are very straightforward. They want disarmament and the removal of warlords, they want corruption to end, and they want the emergence of an efficient, streamlined, coherent government. And for that, we need reforms.”
More mashing of the past and the present:
RAND published an “Occasional Paper” titled “The Phoenix Program and Contemporary Counterinsurgency,” written by William Rosenau and Austin Long. Following is from the Paper’s Preface:
“Counterinsurgency campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have reawakened official and analytical interest in the Phoenix Program. But Phoenix remains one of the most misunderstood aspects of the Vietnam War. Some believe it to have been devastatingly effective against the Viet Cong (VC), while others believe it to have been nothing more than an assassination program. This paper seeks to clarify what Phoenix was (and was not) while also attempting to determine what elements of Phoenix remain relevant to contemporary counterinsurgency.”
On to one of my favorite writers—Bing West.
The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed by Bing, titled “How We’ll Win in Afghanistan.” Please read it in full, along with Julian Barnes’ Los Angeles Times article “U.S. commander in Afghanistan shifts focus to protecting people.”
This memo from Col. Timothy R. Reese was circulated last week. Michael Gordon wrote about it in his New York Times article “U.S. Advisor’s Blunt Memo on Iraq: Time ‘to Go Home’.
Here’s another memo that Michael Gordon wrote about, with David Cloud, for the New York Times: “Rumsfeld memo Proposed ‘Major Adjustment’ in Iraq.” This one is from 2006.
In his CSIS (Center for Strategic & International Studies) report, “The Afghanistan Campaign: Can We Win?”, Anthony H Cordesman wrote:
“I believe that that the war can be won if the US and its allies act quickly and decisively by . . .”
Read the bullet that follow his above statement in the report.
Other interesting viewing this week? Al Jazeera English reported about the Taliban’s “Code of Conduct Manual.” Following is from the report:
The book makes it clear that it is the duty of every fighter to win over the local population.
“The mujahideen have to behave well and show proper treatment to the nation, in order to bring the hearts of civilian Muslims closer to them.
“The mujahideen must avoid discrimination based on tribal roots, language or geographic background.”
Sounds a lot like our own strategy.