Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Once more unto the breach..."

Today is Friday, 25 June 2010.

Frankie say, “Relax”. After all, Gen. Stanley (Ol’ Motormouth) McChrystal has shoveled himself into ignominious retirement, and Gen. David Petraeus, the Lion of Baghdad, is heading to Kabul.

Truly, the patterns of history are nothing more than the biographies of Great Men, particularly Men on White Horses, swooping in to save the day from Greatly Evil Men on Black Horses. (Small people need not apply.)

There are two main schools of thought regarding Petraeus. One holds that he broke the back of the Iraqi insurgency by cunning deployment of the troop augmentation known as “The Surge”. The other, which seems to me to track the evidence far more closely, holds that Petraeus was lucky: that the insurgency was not so much aimed at the American military, as it was at Shiite ethnic cleansing of Sunnis, and that the reason the insurgency seemed to ebb was not The Surge, but the fact that the majority of Baghdad Shiite neighborhoods had been successfully denuded of Sunnis, who were penned into ghettoes.

Regardless, Petraeus faces a completely different situation in Afghanistan. Iraq was a Second World centralized dictatorship, while Afghanistan has been a failed state since at least the early 1990s (sort of Somalia with more journalistic facetime), much of which is ruled by warlords and tribal combinations which pay only lip service to Hamid Karzai, the “Mayor of Kabul”.

As I’ve noted tirelessly, and tiresomely, before, Afghanistan and Somalia are failed states because they were both employed by the USA/USE and USSR as proxy battlefields during the Cold War. It will require much more than military victory over the Taliban before Petraeus can intone: “Mission accomplished”.

Ironically, today is the 134th anniversary of Custer’s debacle at the Battle of the Greasy Grass, and the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.


Post a Comment

<< Home