March 08, 2008

And Charlie reads Nagl so you don't have to...

Everyone's favorite Army LTC, Herr Profesor John Nagl, has an op-ed in today's Washington Post. Actually, it's more like three op-eds (which Charlie tried to tell him...apparently all that time in tanks has left him hard of hearing).

Key take-aways:

1) Advisors: We need more.

2) Afghanistan: We're losing.

3) War of Ideas: We should fight one.

The intersection of improved advising capacity (both for the long-term, large-scale needs in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also smaller footprint Phase Zero efforts) and relentless campaigning in the war of ideas are hallmarks of an indirect approach. But these elements are multiplicative: if either of them is zero the whole thing goes to sh*t. We can't wait until Iraq "winds down" or things improve in Afghanistan. Neither of these things will ever happen unless and until we take the advising and information elements of these wars seriously. And by seriously, Charlie means putting our money where our mouth is and funding these damn things like we mean it.

In conclusion:

Above all, we soldiers need the American people to understand that counterinsurgency is slow, painstaking work that requires serious patience. Lt. Col. Suleyman understood the risks and confronted them head-on. We should do the same, with clear eyes and no illusions. These will be long wars.

Update: Welcome, Instapundit readers! While you're here, check out the newest addition to our COIN book club and the compilation of our "Best of the Best" week in review.