August 26, 2009

Widening the Aperture

Eli Lake was right to profile Derek Harvey, the widely respected intelligence officer now starting a center in U.S. Central Command for the study of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Harvey has this right:

"We have tended to rely too much on intelligence sources and not integrating fully what is coming from provincial reconstruction teams, civil-affairs officers, commanders and operators on the ground that are interacting with the population and who understand the population and can actually communicate what is going on in the street," he said. "If you only rely on the intelligence reporting, you can get a skewed picture of the situation."

The only problem with this, you all will have noticed, is that this kind of cultural change often takes years to develop, and we have, what, 18 months to get things right in Afghanistan?