General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and General Confusion

post to UNC Press Blog, 19 August 2010

Barack Obama’s Afghanistan commanders are something else. First, they promoted a highly debatable counter-insurgency strategy. Then, despite the numerous and cogent contemporary critiques, they got the president to buy into their particular brand of wishful thinking, and they got from him the additional troops supposedly needed for success. They have since failed to deliver. There are no convincing signs of progress toward their promise of pacification. Read More »

Vietnam War Lessons: Never Too Late to Learn

post to UNC Press Blog, 5 August 2010

Developments over the last month or so have put the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan under a dark cloud. The McChrystal affair and the WikiLeaks revelations are symptomatic of deeper troubles: the rapid bankruptcy of counterinsurgency, a surge in U.S. casualties, the persistently problematic role of Pakistan, the continued immobility of the Karzai regime, the sluggish progress in training Afghan forces, and declining domestic support. Vietnam lessons would seem never more pertinent. Read More »